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
John Simon Bercow is a British politician, the Speaker of the House of Commons since June 2009. He concurrently serves as the Member of Parliament for Buckingham. Prior to his election to Speaker, he was a member of the Conservative Party. A former right-winger, he changed his views after becoming an MP and at one time was rumoured to be to defect to the Labour Party. Bercow's election to the Speaker's chair depended on the backing of other parties, was unpopular with many of his former Conservative Party colleagues, he served as a councillor from 1986 to 1990 and unsuccessfully contested parliamentary seats in the 1987 and 1992 general elections. In the 1997 general election, Bercow was elected the MP for Buckingham and promoted to the shadow cabinet in 2001, he held posts in the shadow cabinets of Iain Duncan Michael Howard. In November 2002, he resigned from the shadow cabinet over disputes concerning the Adoption and Children Act but returned under Howard in 2003. In September 2004, Bercow was dismissed after disagreements with Howard.
Following the resignation of Speaker Michael Martin, Bercow announced his intention to stand for the Speakership election on 22 June 2009 and was successful. He remained Speaker and was re-elected in his constituency at the general election on 7 May 2015, he was re-elected as Speaker, when the House sat at the start of the new parliament on 18 May 2015. Following the 2017 general election, Bercow was re-elected, again unopposed, as Speaker, on 13 June 2017, he is the first Speaker since the Second World War to be elected to the post three times. In October 2009, Bercow chaired the United Kingdom Youth Parliament's first annual sitting in the House of Commons, making them the only group except Members of Parliament to sit in the chamber, he has chaired every subsequent sitting and attended every annual conference and supporting Members of Youth Parliament from across the UK. In 2014, Bercow was appointed Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, in July 2017 he was appointed Chancellor of the University of Essex.
In October 2018, it was reported that Bercow intended to step down as Speaker in the summer of 2019, due to a report on the failure of high-level figures in Parliament to deal adequately with bullying of staff at Westminster and due to allegations of bullying made against him personally. However, it was reported that Bercow planned "to stay as speaker" until the end of parliament in 2022. Bercow was born in Edgware, the son of Brenda and Charles Bercow, a taxi driver, his father was born to his mother converted to Judaism. His paternal grandparents were Jews. Having settled in the UK, the family anglicised its surname from Berkowitz to Bercow. Bercow attended Frith Manor Primary School in Woodside Park, Finchley Manorhill, a large comprehensive school in North Finchley. In his youth, Bercow had been ranked Britain's No. 1 junior tennis player, but came down with bronchial asthma and was unable to pursue a professional career. Bercow graduated with a first-class honours degree in government from the University of Essex in 1985.
Professor Anthony King said "When he was a student here, he was right-wing, pretty stroppy, good. He was an outstanding student."As a young activist, Bercow was a member of the right-wing Conservative Monday Club. He stood as a candidate for the club's national executive in 1981 with a manifesto calling for a programme of "assisted repatriation" of immigrants, became secretary of its immigration and repatriation committee. However, at the age of 20 he left the club, citing the views of many of the club's members as his reason, has since called his participation in the club "utter madness" and dismissed his views from that period as "bone headed". After graduating from the University of Essex, Bercow was elected as the last national chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students, 1986–87; the FCS was broken up by the chairman of the Conservative Party, Norman Tebbit, after one of its members had accused previous Tory PM Harold Macmillan of war crimes in extraditing Cossacks to the Soviet Union.
Bercow attracted the attention of the Conservative leadership, in 1987 he was appointed by Tebbit as vice-chairman of the Conservative Collegiate Forum to head the campaign for student support in the run-up to the 1987 general election. After a spell in merchant banking, Bercow joined the lobbying firm Rowland Sallingbury Casey in 1988, becoming a board director within five years. With fellow Conservative Julian Lewis, Bercow ran an advanced speaking and campaigning course for over 10 years, which trained over 600 Conservatives in campaigning and communication techniques, he has lectured in the United States to students of the Leadership Institute. In 1986, Bercow was elected as a Conservative councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth, served for four years representing the Streatham, St Leonard's ward. In 1987, he was appointed the youngest deputy group leader in the United Kingdom. In 1995, Bercow was appointed as a special adviser to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Jonathan Aitken.
After Aitken's resignation to fight a libel action, Bercow served as a special adviser to the Secretary of State for National Heritage, Virginia Bottomley. Bercow was an unsuccessful Conservative candidate in the 1987 general election in Motherwell South, again at the 1992 general election in Bristol South. In 1996 he paid £1,000 to charter a helicopter so that he could attend the selection meetings for two safe Conservative parliamentary seats on the same day – Buckingham and Surrey Heath –
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, for criminal cases from England and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population; as authorised by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Part 3, Section 23 and s. 23, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was formally established on 1 October 2009. It assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords, exercised by the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, the 12 judges appointed as members of the House of Lords to carry out its judicial business as the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords, its jurisdiction over devolution matters had been exercised by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The current President of the Supreme Court is Baroness Hale of Richmond, its Deputy President is Lord Reed; the United Kingdom has a doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, so the Supreme Court is much more limited in its powers of judicial review than the constitutional or supreme courts of some other countries.
It cannot overturn any primary legislation made by Parliament. However, it can overturn secondary legislation if, for example, that legislation is found to be ultra vires to the powers in primary legislation allowing it to be made. Further, under section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998, the Supreme Court, like some other courts in the United Kingdom, may make a declaration of incompatibility, indicating that it believes that the legislation subject to the declaration is incompatible with one of the rights in the European Convention on Human Rights; such a declaration can apply to secondary legislation. The legislation is not overturned by the declaration, neither Parliament nor the government is required to agree with any such declaration. However, if they do accept a declaration, ministers can exercise powers under section 10 of the act to amend the legislation by statutory instrument to remove the incompatibility or ask Parliament to amend the legislation; the creation of a Supreme Court for the United Kingdom was first mooted in a consultation paper published by the Department of Constitutional Affairs in July 2003.
Although the paper noted that there had been no criticism of the then-current Law Lords or any indication of an actual bias, it argued that the separation of the judicial functions of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords from the legislative functions of the House of Lords should be made explicit. The paper noted the following concerns: Whether there was any longer sufficient transparency of independence from the executive and the legislature to give assurance of the independence of the judiciary; the requirement for the appearance of impartiality and independence limited the ability of the Law Lords to contribute to the work of the House itself, thus reducing the value to both them and the House of their membership. It was not always understood by the public that judicial decisions of "the House of Lords" were in fact taken by the Judicial Committee and that non-judicial members were never involved in the judgments. Conversely, it was felt that the extent to which the Law Lords themselves had decided to refrain from getting involved in political issues in relation to legislation on which they might have had to adjudicate was not always appreciated.
The new President of the Court, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, has claimed that the old system had confused people and that with the Supreme Court there would for the first time be a clear separation of powers among the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. Space within the House of Lords was at a constant premium and a separate supreme court would ease the pressure on the Palace of Westminster; the main argument against a new Supreme Court was that the previous system had worked well and kept costs down. Reformers expressed concern that this second main example of a mixture of the legislative and executive might conflict with professed values under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Officials who make or execute laws have an interest in court cases; when the state invests judicial authority in those officials or their day-to-day colleagues, it puts the independence and impartiality of the courts at risk. It was hypothesised connected decisions of the Law Lords to debates had by friends or on which the Lord Chancellor had expressed a view might be challenged on Human Rights grounds on the basis that they had not constituted a fair trial.
Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury President of the Supreme Court, expressed fear that the new court could make itself more powerful than the House of Lords committee it succeeded, saying that there is a real risk of "judges arrogating to themselves greater power than they have at the moment". Lord Phillips said such an outcome was "a possibility", but was "unlikely"; the reforms were controversial and were brought forward with little consultation but were subsequently extensively debated in Parliament. During 2004, a select committee of the House of Lords scrutinised the arguments for and against setting up a new court; the Government estimated the set-up cost of the Supreme Court at £56.9 million. As authorised by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Part 3, Section 23 and s. 23, the Supreme Court was formally established on 1 October 2009. It assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords, exercised by the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, the 12 professional judges appointed as members of the House of Lords to carry out its judicial business.
Its jurisdiction over devolution matters had been exercised
Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in London as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was educated at home, her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she has four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; when her father died in February 1952, she became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ceylon. She has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, the decolonisation of Africa. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and realms, including South Africa and Ceylon, became republics.
Her many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and visits to or from five popes. Significant events have included her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012 respectively. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee, she is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch as well as the world's longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state, the oldest and longest-reigning current monarch and the longest-serving current head of state. Elizabeth has faced republican sentiments and press criticism of the royal family, in particular after the breakdown of her children's marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992 and the death in 1997 of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales. However, support for the monarchy has been and remains high, as does her personal popularity. Elizabeth was born at 02:40 on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V.
Her father, the Duke of York, was the second son of the King. Her mother, the Duchess of York, was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, she was delivered by Caesarean section at her maternal grandfather's London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair. She was baptised by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May, named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after George V's mother, who had died six months earlier, Mary after her paternal grandmother. Called "Lilibet" by her close family, based on what she called herself at first, she was cherished by her grandfather George V, during his serious illness in 1929 her regular visits were credited in the popular press and by biographers with raising his spirits and aiding his recovery. Elizabeth's only sibling, Princess Margaret, was born in 1930; the two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess, Marion Crawford.
Lessons concentrated on history, language and music. Crawford published a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret's childhood years entitled The Little Princesses in 1950, much to the dismay of the royal family; the book describes Elizabeth's love of horses and dogs, her orderliness, her attitude of responsibility. Others echoed such observations: Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she was two as "a character, she has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant." Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved". During her grandfather's reign, Elizabeth was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle Edward and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen, as Edward was still young. Many people believed he would have children of his own; when her grandfather died in 1936 and her uncle succeeded as Edward VIII, she became second-in-line to the throne, after her father.
That year, Edward abdicated, after his proposed marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis. Elizabeth's father became king, she became heir presumptive. If her parents had had a son, she would have lost her position as first-in-line, as her brother would have been heir apparent and above her in the line of succession. Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of Eton College, learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses. A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company, was formed so she could socialise with girls her own age, she was enrolled as a Sea Ranger. In 1939, Elizabeth's parents toured the United States; as in 1927, when her parents had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Britain, since her father thought her too young to undertake public tours. Elizabeth "looked tearful", they corresponded and she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call on 18 May.
In September 1939, Britain entered the Second World War. Lord Hailsham suggested that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada to avoid the frequent aerial bombing; this was rejected by Elizabeth's mother. I won't leave wit
Taxation in the United Kingdom
Taxation in the United Kingdom may involve payments to at least three different levels of government: central government, devolved governments and local government. Central government revenues come from income tax, National Insurance contributions, value added tax, corporation tax and fuel duty. Local government revenues come from grants from central government funds, business rates in England, Council Tax and from fees and charges such as those for on-street parking. In the fiscal year 2014–15, total government revenue was forecast to be £648 billion, or 37.7 per cent of GDP, with net taxes and National Insurance contributions standing at £606 billion. A uniform Land tax was introduced in England during the late 17th century, formed the main source of government revenue throughout the 18th century and the early 19th century. Income tax was announced in Britain by William Pitt the Younger in his budget of December 1798 and introduced in 1799, to pay for weapons and equipment in preparation for the Napoleonic Wars.
Pitt's new graduated income tax began at a levy of 2 old pence in the pound on annual incomes over £60, increased up to a maximum of 2 shillings on annual incomes of over £200. Pitt hoped that the new income tax would raise £10 million, but receipts for 1799 totalled just over £6 million. Income tax was levied under five schedules. Income not falling within those schedules was not taxed; the schedules were: Schedule A Schedule B Schedule C Schedule D Schedule E Later, Schedule F was added. Pitt's income tax was levied from 1799 to 1802, when it was abolished by Henry Addington during the Peace of Amiens. Addington had taken over as prime minister in 1801; the income tax was reintroduced by Addington in 1803 when hostilities recommenced, but it was again abolished in 1816, one year after the Battle of Waterloo. Considerable controversy was aroused by the malt, house and income taxes; the malt tax was easy to collect from brewers. The house tax hit London town houses; the income tax was reintroduced by Sir Robert Peel in the Income Tax Act 1842.
Peel, as a Conservative, had opposed income tax in the 1841 general election, but a growing budget deficit required a new source of funds. The new income tax of 7d in the pound, based on Addington's model, was imposed on annual incomes above £150; the war was financed by borrowing large sums at home and abroad, by new taxes, by inflation. It was implicitly financed by postponing maintenance and repair, canceling capital expenditure; the government avoided indirect taxes because they raised the cost of living, caused discontent among the working class. There was a strong emphasis on being "fair" and being "scientific"; the public supported the heavy new taxes, with minimal complaints. The Treasury rejected proposals for a stiff capital levy, which the Labour Party wanted to use to weaken the capitalists. Instead, there was an excess profits tax, of 50% on profits above the normal prewar level. Excise taxes were added on luxury imports such as automobiles and watches. There was no sales value added tax.
The main increase in revenue came from the income tax. 6d in the pound, individual exemptions were lowered. The income tax rate increased to 5s. In 1916, 6s. In 1918. Altogether, taxes provided at most 30% of national expenditure, with the rest from borrowing; the national debt soared from £625 million to £7,800 million. Government bonds paid 5% p.a. Inflation escalated so that the pound in 1919 purchased only a third of the basket it had purchased in 1914. Wages were laggard, the poor and retired were hard hit. Britain's income tax has changed over the years, it taxed a person's income regardless of, beneficially entitled to that income, but now tax is paid on income to which the taxpayer is beneficially entitled. Most companies were taken out of the income tax net in 1965; these changes were consolidated by the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970. The schedules under which tax is levied have changed. Schedule B was abolished in 1988, Schedule C in 1996 and Schedule E in 2003. For income tax purposes, the remaining schedules were superseded by the Income Tax Act 2005, which repealed Schedule F.
For corporation tax purposes, the Schedular system was repealed and superseded by the Corporation Tax Acts of 2009 and 2010. The highest rate of income tax peaked in the Second World War at 99.25%. This was reduced after the war and was around 97.5 percent through the 1950s and 60s. In 1971, the top rate of income tax on earned income was cut to 75%. A surcharge of 15% on investment income kept the overall top rate on that income at 90%. In 1974 the top tax rate on earned income was again raised, to 83%. With the investment income surcharge this raised the overall top rate on investment income to 98%, the highest permanent rate since the war; this applied to incomes over £20,000. In 1974, as many as 750,000 people were liable to pay the top rate o
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, domestically as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, the House of Commons; the two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England, the Lords Temporal, consisting of life peers, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords performed a judicial role through the Law Lords. The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system; the two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either House. However, the Leader of the House of Lords must be a peer; the Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by Acts of Union passed by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both Acts of Union stating, "That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament to be styled The Parliament of Great Britain".
At the start of the 19th century, Parliament was further enlarged by Acts of Union ratified by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland that abolished the latter and added 100 Irish MPs and 32 Lords to the former to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 formally amended the name to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", five years after the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922. With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments". However, John Bright – who coined the epithet – used it in reference to the political culture of "England" rather than just the parliamentary system. In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created on 1 January 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800. The principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower House did not develop until the 19th century—the House of Lords was superior to the House of Commons both in theory and in practice. Members of the House of Commons were elected in an antiquated electoral system, under which constituencies of vastly different sizes existed. Thus, the borough of Old Sarum, with seven voters, could elect two members, as could the borough of Dunwich, which had completely disappeared into the sea due to land erosion. Many small constituencies, known as pocket or rotten boroughs, were controlled by members of the House of Lords, who could ensure the election of their relatives or supporters. During the reforms of the 19th century, beginning with the Reform Act 1832, the electoral system for the House of Commons was progressively regularised.
No longer dependent on the Lords for their seats, MPs grew more assertive. The supremacy of the British House of Commons was reaffirmed in the early 20th century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called "People's Budget", which made numerous changes to the taxation system which were detrimental to wealthy landowners; the House of Lords, which consisted of powerful landowners, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget's popularity and the Lords' consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party narrowly won two general elections in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, introduced the Parliament Bill, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords; when the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith countered with a promise extracted from the King in secret before the second general election of 1910 and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers, so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords narrowly passed the bill.
The Parliament Act 1911, as it became, prevented the Lords from blocking a money bill, allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions, after which it could become law over their objections. However, regardless of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, t
The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their sub-divisions. Ill-defined, the term has different meanings depending on context, it is used to designate the monarch in either a personal capacity, as Head of the Commonwealth, or as the king or queen of his or her realms. It can refer to the rule of law. A corporation sole, the Crown is the legal embodiment of executive and judicial governance in the monarchy of each country; these monarchies are united by the personal union of their monarch. The concept of the Crown developed first in England as a separation of the literal crown and property of the kingdom from the person and personal property of the monarch, it spread through English and British colonisation and is now rooted in the legal lexicon of the United Kingdom, its Crown dependencies, the other 15 independent realms. It is not to be confused with any physical crown, such as those of the British regalia; the term is found in various expressions such as "Crown land", which some countries refer to as "public land" or "state land".
The concept of the Crown took form under the feudal system. Though not used this way in all countries that had this system, in England, all rights and privileges were bestowed by the ruler. Land, for instance, was granted by the Crown to lords in exchange for feudal services and they, in turn, granted the land to lesser lords. One exception to this was common socage—owners of land held as socage held it subject only to the Crown; when such lands become owner-less they are said to escheat. Bona vacantia is the royal prerogative; the monarch is the living embodiment of the Crown and, as such, is regarded as the personification of the state. The body of the reigning sovereign thus holds two distinct personas in constant coexistence: that of a natural-born human being and that of the state as accorded to him or her through law; the terms the state, the Crown, the Crown in Right of, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of, similar are all synonymous and the monarch's legal personality is sometimes referred to as the relevant jurisdiction's name.
As such, the king or queen is the employer of all government officials and staff, the guardian of foster children, as well as the owner of all state lands and equipment, state owned companies, the copyright for government publications. This is all in his or her position as sovereign, not as an individual; the Crown represents the legal embodiment of executive and judicial governance. While the Crown's legal personality is regarded as a corporation sole, it can, at least for some purposes, be described as a corporation aggregate headed by the monarch. Whilst the Crown refers to the monarch, this reference is made in re the monarch this reference is to the monarch in their capacity as monarch, does not refer to that individual in their totality of ownership interests and actions; the monarch can act in a private capacity. This duality of characterisation can be illustrated in several ways. In property ownership for example, although both are royal residences, Buckingham Palace is the property of the Crown via the Crown Estate whilst Balmoral Castle is the property of Elizabeth II and not of the Crown.
The latter property can be alienated by the Queen, whereas any disposition of the former property would need to be done via instrument of government as an act of state. The Queen's bank accounts at Coutts contain components of her private wealth only, whilst the resources of the monarch acting as the Crown are dispensed from HM Treasury and the Crown Estate to the Royal Household. A third example is in employment relationships; however those who assist as employees of the monarch as the Crown do so on employment from the Royal Household, the official department charged with supporting the monarch. Those who a