Free trade is a trade policy that does not restrict imports or exports. In government, free trade is predominantly advocated by political parties that hold liberal economic positions while economically left-wing and nationalist political parties support protectionism, the opposite of free trade. Most nations are today members of the World Trade Organization multilateral trade agreements. Free trade is additionally exemplified by the European Economic Area and the Mercosur which have established open markets. However, most governments still impose some protectionist policies that are intended to support local employment, such as applying tariffs to imports or subsidies to exports. Governments may restrict free trade to limit exports of natural resources. Other barriers that may hinder trade include import quotas and non-tariff barriers, such as regulatory legislation. There is a broad consensus among economists that protectionism has a negative effect on economic growth and economic welfare while free trade and the reduction of trade barriers has a positive effect on economic growth.
However, liberalization of trade can cause significant and unequally distributed losses, the economic dislocation of workers in import-competing sectors. Free trade policies may promote the following features: Trade of goods without taxes or other trade barriers. Trade in services without taxes or other trade barriers; the absence of "trade-distorting" policies that give some firms, households, or factors of production an advantage over others. Unregulated access to markets. Unregulated access to market information. Inability of firms to distort markets through government-imposed monopoly or oligopoly power. Trade agreements which encourage free trade. Two simple ways to understand the proposed benefits of free trade are through David Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage and by analyzing the impact of a tariff or import quota. An economic analysis using the law of supply and demand and the economic effects of a tax can be used to show the theoretical benefits and disadvantages of free trade.
Most economists would recommend that developing nations should set their tariff rates quite low, but the economist Ha-Joon Chang, a proponent of industrial policy, believes higher levels may be justified in developing nations because the productivity gap between them and developed nations today is much higher than what developed nations faced when they were at a similar level of technological development. Underdeveloped nations today, Chang believes, are weak players in a much more competitive system. Counterarguments to Chang's point of view are that the developing countries are able to adopt technologies from abroad whereas developed nations had to create new technologies themselves and that developing countries can sell to export markets far richer than any that existed in the 19th century. If the chief justification for a tariff is to stimulate infant industries, it must be high enough to allow domestic manufactured goods to compete with imported goods in order to be successful; this theory, known as import substitution industrialization, is considered ineffective for developing nations.
The chart at the right analyzes the effect of the imposition of an import tariff on some imaginary good. Prior to the tariff, the price of the good in the world market is Pworld; the tariff increases the domestic price to Ptariff. The higher price causes domestic production to increase from QS1 to QS2 and causes domestic consumption to decline from QC1 to QC2; this has three main effects on societal welfare. Consumers are made worse off. Producers are better off; the government has additional tax revenue. However, the loss to consumers is greater than the gains by the government; the magnitude of this societal loss is shown by the two pink triangles. Removing the tariff and having free trade would be a net gain for society. An identical analysis of this tariff from the perspective of a net producing country yields parallel results. From that country's perspective, the tariff leaves producers worse off and consumers better off, but the net loss to producers is larger than the benefit to consumers. Under similar analysis, export tariffs, import quotas and export quotas all yield nearly identical results.
Sometimes consumers are better off and producers worse off and sometimes consumers are worse off and producers are better off, but the imposition of trade restrictions causes a net loss to society because the losses from trade restrictions are larger than the gains from trade restrictions. Free trade creates winners and losers, but theory and empirical evidence show that the size of the winnings from free trade are larger than the losses. According to mainstream economics theory, the selective application of free trade agreements to some countries and tariffs on others can lead to economic inefficiency through the process of trade diversion, it is economically efficient for a good to be produced by the country, the lowest cost producer, but this does not always take place if a high cost producer has a free trade agreement while the low cost producer faces a high tariff. Applying free trade to the high cost producer and not the low cost producer as well can lead to trade diversion and a net economic loss.
This is why many economists place such high importance on negotiations for global tar
1806 United Kingdom general election
The 1806 United Kingdom general election was the election of members to the 3rd Parliament of the United Kingdom. This was the second general election to be held after the Union of Great Ireland; the general election took place in a situation of considerable uncertainty about the future of British politics, following the sudden death of William Pitt the Younger and the formation of the Ministry of all the Talents. The second United Kingdom Parliament was dissolved on 24 October 1806; the new Parliament was summoned to meet on 13 December 1806, for a maximum seven-year term from that date. The maximum term could be and was curtailed, by the monarch dissolving the Parliament, before its term expired. Since the previous general election fighting in the Napoleonic Wars with France had resumed in 1803. Tory Prime Minister Henry Addington had resigned in 1804. William Pitt the Younger formed a new coalition of pro-government Whig and Tory politicians to prosecute the war; the opposition Whigs, led by Charles James Fox, continued to oppose the government.
They were strengthened by a group of Pitt's former supporters who had aligned themselves with Fox in opposition to Addington after 1802 and who did not accompany Pitt and his other friends back to office in 1804. When Pitt died on 23 January 1806 a new ministry was formed by Grenville, it included Addington as well as other leading political figures of the day. However it did not include George Canning, who had inherited the leadership of Pitt's faction in the House of Commons or the Duke of Portland who led it in the House of Lords; this government was known as the Ministry of all the Talents. An attempt was made to end the Napoleonic Wars by negotiation; as this hope failed the war continued. Grenville tried to strengthen the government, but was unable to persuade the Pittites to join him either as a body or by detaching some leading figures; the Prime Minister was not prepared to exclude his friends as the Pittites wanted. Lord Grenville decided to hold a general election to strengthen his government.
The King granted a dissolution. The Talents were in office at the time of this election and continued after it, but the Ministry was weakened by the death of Fox on 13 September 1806; the election itself was a disappointment. In the eighteenth century a government with the King's backing could expect to make substantial gains at an election; however Pitt's financial reforms had weakened the ability of the Treasury to manipulate election results. Foord estimated. At this period there was not one election day. After receiving a writ for the election to be held, the local returning officer fixed the election timetable for the particular constituency or constituencies he was concerned with. Polling in seats with contested elections could continue for many days; the time between the first and last contested elections was 29 October to 17 December 1806. Monmouthshire is included in Wales in these tables. Sources for this period may include the county in England. Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and country Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country United Kingdom general elections Members of the 3rd UK Parliament from Ireland British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher.
Source: Dates of Elections – Footnote to Table 5.02 British Historical Facts 1760–1830, by Chris Cook and John Stevenson. Source: Types of constituencies – Great Britain His Majesty's Opposition 1714–1830, by Archibald S. Foord Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland 1801–1922, edited by B. M. Walker. Source: Types of constituencies – Ireland
Whigs (British political party)
The Whigs were a political faction and a political party in the parliaments of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Between the 1680s and 1850s, they contested power with the Tories; the Whigs' origin lay in constitutional opposition to absolute monarchy. The Whigs played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and were the standing enemies of the Stuart kings and pretenders, who were Roman Catholic; the Whigs took full control of the government in 1715 and remained dominant until King George III, coming to the throne in 1760, allowed Tories back in. The Whig Supremacy was enabled by the Hanoverian succession of George I in 1714 and the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 by Tory rebels; the Whigs purged the Tories from all major positions in government, the army, the Church of England, the legal profession and local offices. The Party's hold on power was so strong and durable, historians call the period from 1714 to 1783 the age of the Whig Oligarchy; the first great leader of the Whigs was Robert Walpole, who maintained control of the government through the period 1721–1742 and whose protégé Henry Pelham led from 1743 to 1754.
Both parties began as loose groupings or tendencies, but became quite formal by 1784 with the ascension of Charles James Fox as the leader of a reconstituted Whig Party, arrayed against the governing party of the new Tories under William Pitt the Younger. Both parties were founded on rich politicians more than on popular votes, there were elections to the House of Commons, but a small number of men controlled most of the voters; the Whig Party evolved during the 18th century. The Whig tendency supported the great aristocratic families, the Protestant Hanoverian succession and toleration for nonconformist Protestants, while some Tories supported the exiled Stuart royal family's claim to the throne and all Tories supported the established Church of England and the gentry. On, the Whigs drew support from the emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants, while the Tories drew support from the landed interests and the royal family. However, by the first half of the 19th century the Whig political programme came to encompass not only the supremacy of parliament over the monarch and support for free trade, but Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery and expansion of the franchise.
The 19th century Whig support for Catholic emancipation was a complete reversal of the party's historic anti-Catholic position at its late 17th century origin. The term "Whig" was short for "whiggamor", a term meaning "cattle driver" used to describe western Scots who came to Leith for corn. In the reign of Charles I the term was used during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms to refer derisively to a radical faction of the Scottish Covenanters who called themselves the "Kirk Party", it was applied to Scottish Presbyterian rebels who were against the King's Episcopalian order in Scotland. The term "Whig" entered English political discourse during the Exclusion Bill crisis of 1678–1681 when there was controversy about whether or not King Charles II's brother, should be allowed to succeed to the throne on Charles's death. "Whig" was a term of abuse applied to those who wanted to exclude James on the grounds that he was a Roman Catholic. The fervent Tory Samuel Johnson joked that "the first Whig was the Devil".
Under Lord Shaftesbury's leadership, the Whigs in the Parliament of England wished to exclude the Duke of York from the throne due to his Roman Catholicism, his favouring of monarchical absolutism, his connections to France. They believed the heir presumptive, if allowed to inherit the throne, would endanger the Protestant religion and property; the first Exclusion Bill was supported by a substantial majority on its second reading in May 1679. In response, King Charles prorogued Parliament and dissolved it, but the subsequent elections in August and September saw the Whigs' strength increase; this new parliament did not meet for thirteen months, because Charles wanted to give passions a chance to die down. When it met in October 1680, an Exclusion Bill was introduced and passed in the Commons without major resistance, but was rejected in the Lords. Charles dissolved Parliament in January 1681, but the Whigs did not suffer serious losses in the ensuing election; the next Parliament first met in March at Oxford, but Charles dissolved it after only a few days, when he made an appeal to the country against the Whigs and determined to rule without Parliament.
In February, Charles had made a deal with the French King Louis XIV, who promised to support him against the Whigs. Without Parliament, the Whigs crumbled due to government repression following the discovery of the Rye House Plot; the Whig peers, the Earl of Melville, the Earl of Leven, Lord Shaftesbury, Charles II's illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth, being implicated, fled to and regrouped in the United Provinces. Algernon Sidney, Sir Thomas Armstrong and William Russell, Lord Russell, were executed for treason; the Earl of Essex committed suicide in the Tower of London over his arrest for treason, whilst Lord Grey of Werke escaped from the Tower. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Queen Mary II and King William III governed with both Whigs and Tories, despite the fact that many of the Tories still supported the deposed Roman Catholic James II. William saw that the Tories were friendlier to royal authority than the Whigs and he employed both groups in his government, his early ministry was Tory, but the government came to be dominated by the so-called Junto Whig
1818 United Kingdom general election
The 1818 United Kingdom general election saw the Whigs gain a few seats, but the Tories under the Earl of Liverpool retained a majority of around 90 seats. The Whigs were divided over their response to growing social unrest and the introduction of the Corn Laws; the result of the election was known on 4 August 1818. The fifth United Kingdom Parliament was dissolved on 10 June 1818; the new Parliament was summoned to meet on 4 August 1818, for a maximum seven-year term from that date. The maximum term could be and was curtailed, by the monarch dissolving the Parliament, before its term expired; the sixth Parliament lasted only about a year and a half, as King George III's death on 29 January 1820 triggered a dissolution of Parliament. The Tory leader was the Earl of Liverpool, Prime Minister since his predecessor's assassination in 1812; the Tory Leader of the House of Commons was Viscount Castlereagh. The Whig Party had long suffered from weak leadership in the House of Commons. At the time of the general election, the Earl Grey was the leading figure amongst the Whig peers.
The last Whig Prime Minister, the Lord Grenville, had retired from active politics in 1817. It was that Earl Grey would have been invited to form a government, had the Whigs come to power, although in this era the monarch rather than the governing party decided which individual would be Prime Minister; the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, until his death in 1817, was George Ponsonby—the uncle of Grey's wife. About a year after Ponsonby's death, George Tierney reluctantly became the recognised Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons. However, after 1819 he did not carry out the functions of leader. Monmouthshire is included in Wales in these tables. Sources for this period may include the county in England. Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and country Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country United Kingdom general elections His Majesty's Opposition 1714–1830, by Archibald S. Foord Footnote to Table 5.02 British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher.
British Historical Facts 1760–1830, by Chris Cook and John Stevenson. Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland 1801–1922, edited by B. M. Walker
Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain that existed from 1838 to 1857. It took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 and was a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support in Northern England, the East Midlands, the Staffordshire Potteries, the Black Country, the South Wales Valleys. Support for the movement was at its highest in 1839, 1842, 1848, when petitions signed by millions of working people were presented to the House of Commons; the strategy employed was to use the scale of support which these petitions and the accompanying mass meetings demonstrated to put pressure on politicians to concede manhood suffrage. Chartism thus relied on constitutional methods to secure its aims, though there were some who became involved in insurrectionary activities, notably in south Wales and in Yorkshire; the People's Charter called for six reforms to make the political system more democratic: A vote for every man twenty-one years of age, of sound mind, not undergoing punishment for a crime.
The secret ballot to protect the elector in the exercise of his vote. No property qualification for Members of Parliament in order to allow the constituencies to return the man of their choice. Payment of Members, enabling tradesmen, working men, or other persons of modest means to leave or interrupt their livelihood to attend to the interests of the nation. Equal constituencies, securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, instead of allowing less populous constituencies to have as much or more weight than larger ones. Annual Parliamentary elections, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since no purse could buy a constituency under a system of universal manhood suffrage in each twelve-month period. Chartists saw themselves fighting against political corruption and for democracy in an industrial society, but attracted support beyond the radical political groups for economic reasons, such as opposing wage cuts and unemployment. After the passing of the Reform Act 1832, which failed to extend the vote beyond those owning property, the political leaders of the working class made speeches claiming that there had been a great act of betrayal.
This sense that the working class had been betrayed by the middle class was strengthened by the actions of the Whig governments of the 1830s. Notably, the hated new Poor Law Amendment was passed in 1834, depriving working people of outdoor relief and driving the poor into workhouses, where families were separated, it was the massive wave of opposition to this measure in the north of England in the late 1830s that gave Chartism the numbers that made it a mass movement. It seemed that only securing the vote for working men would change things, indeed Dorothy Thompson, the pre-eminent historian of Chartism, defined the movement as the time when "thousands of working people considered that their problems could be solved by the political organization of the country." In 1836 the London Working Men's Association was founded by William Lovett and Henry Hetherington, providing a platform for Chartists in the south east. The origins of Chartism in Wales can be traced to the foundation in the autumn of 1836 of Carmarthen Working Men's Association.
Both nationally and locally a Chartist press thrived in the form of periodicals, which were important to the movement for their news, editorials and reports on international developments. They reached a huge audience; the Poor Man's Guardian in the 1830s, edited by Henry Hetherington, dealt with questions of class solidarity, manhood suffrage and temperance. The paper explored the rhetoric of violence versus non-violence, or what its writers referred to as moral versus physical force, it was succeeded as the voice of radicalism by an more famous paper: the Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser. The Star was published between 1837 and 1852, in 1839 was the best-selling provincial newspaper in Britain, with a circulation of 50,000 copies. Like other Chartist papers it was read aloud in coffee houses and the open air. Other Chartist periodicals included the Northern Liberator, English Chartist Circular, the Midland Counties' Illuminator; the papers gave justifications for the demands of the People's Charter, accounts of local meetings, commentaries on education and temperance and a great deal of poetry.
The papers advertised upcoming meetings organised by local grass roots branches, held either in public houses, or in their own halls. Research of the distribution of Chartist meetings in London which were advertised in the Norther Star shows that the movement was not uniformly spread across the Metropolis, but was instead clustered in the city's West End where a group of Chartist tailors had shops, as well as in Shoreditch in the east, relied on pubs that supported local friendly societies. Readers found denunciations of imperialism—the First Opium War was condemned—and of the arguments of free traders about the civilizing and pacifying influences of free trade. In 1837, six Members of Parliament and six working men, including William Lovett formed a committee, which in 1838 published the People's Charter; this set out the six main aims of the movement. The achievement of these aims would give working men a say in law-making: they would be able to vote, their vote would be protected by a secret ballot.
None of these demands was new, but the People's Charter was to become one of the most famous political
1830 United Kingdom general election
The 1830 United Kingdom general election was triggered by the death of King George IV and produced the first parliament of the reign of his successor, William IV. Fought in the aftermath of the Swing Riots, it saw. Polling took place in July and August and the Tories won a plurality over the Whigs, but division among Tory MPs allowed Earl Grey to form an effective government and take the question of electoral reform to the country the following year; the eighth United Kingdom Parliament was dissolved on 24 July 1830. The new Parliament was summoned to meet on 14 September 1830, for a maximum seven-year term from that date; the maximum term could be and was curtailed, by the monarch dissolving the Parliament, before its term expired. This election was the first since 1708 to cause the collapse of the government; the Tory leader, at the time of the 1830 election, was the Duke of Wellington. He had been Prime Minister since 1828; the previous Parliament had been unstable. During the 1826–30 Parliament, there had been four Tory prime ministers.
The Earl of Liverpool, Prime Minister since 1812, was forced by ill health to retire in 1827. George Canning, Leader of the House of Commons under Liverpool, became Prime Minister in early 1827; the High Tories, led by the Duke of Wellington and Robert Peel, refused to serve in his government. Canning invited a section of the Whigs, including Lansdowne to join a coalition ministry with the Canningite faction of the Tories. Other Whigs, like Earl Grey, remained in opposition; some Whigs like Viscount Althorp adopted a neutral attitude to the government. After Canning's death in August 1827, the premiership passed to Viscount Goderich for a few more months, until Wellington took over on 22 January 1828; those Whigs, in both Canning's and Goderich's governments returned to the Opposition. For a short while a band of MPs and peers, supporters of Canning were in included in Wellington's government but left on the issue of the re-distribution of seats from the corrupt parliamentary borough of East Retford in May 1828.
There was a further split in the Tory administration in 1829 on the issue of Catholic emancipation when Daniel O'Connell and his Catholic Association won a parliamentary seat. Barred from taking his seat in the House of Commons because he was a Catholic, Wellington's government was forced to bring about a change but led to another split in their party—this time with the creation of the'Ultra-Tory' group led by Edward Knatchbull MP and supported by a number of influential peers in the House of Lords. There had not been a predominantly Whig administration since the Ministry of all the Talents in 1806–07; the Whig Party had had weak leadership in the House of Commons, for many years. However, during the 1826–30 Parliament the situation improved. At the time of the general election, the Earl Grey was the leading figure amongst the Whig peers; however Grey had given up the formal leadership in 1824. The Marquess of Lansdowne had not taken up the title; the animosity which King George IV had to Earl Grey had barred him from government, but in the new reign his chances of office had improved.
There had been no official Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons since 1821, but in 1830 the Whigs selected Viscount Althorp to fill the vacancy. In Irish politics, Daniel O'Connell and his Catholic Association had succeeded in obtaining Catholic emancipation in 1829; however this measure was accompanied with an increase in the property qualification for Irish county voters, from a £2 freehold to a £20 one. For the first time since the penal laws were enacted in the seventeenth century Catholics in Ireland could serve in Parliament. With emancipation achieved, O'Connell was free to pursue his other aim with a campaign for repeal of the Act of Union. At this period there was not one election day. After receiving a writ for the election to be held, the local returning officer fixed the election timetable for the particular constituency or constituencies he was concerned with. Polling in seats with contested elections could continue for many days; the general election took place between the first contest on 29 July and the last contest on 1 September 1830.
Monmouthshire is included in Wales in these tables. Sources for this period may include the county in England. Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and country Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country United Kingdom general elections List of MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1830 List of MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1832 British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher. Source: Dates of Elections – Footnote to Table 5.02 British Historical Facts 1760–1830, by Chris Cook and John Stevenson. Source: Types of constituencies – Great Britain His Majesty's Opposition 1714–1830, by Archibald S. Foord Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland 1801–1922, edited by B. M. Walker. Source: Types of constituencies – Ireland
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K