Directly elected mayors in England and Wales
Directly elected mayors in England and Wales are local government executive leaders who have been directly elected by the people who live in a local authority area. The first such political post was the Mayor of London, created as the executive of the Greater London Authority in 2000 as part of a reform of the local government of Greater London. Since the Local Government Act 2000, all of the several hundred principal local councils in England and Wales are required to review their executive arrangements. Most local authorities opt for the "leader and cabinet" model where the council leader is selected from the councillors, but in some areas the council proposes to adopt the "mayor and cabinet" model. Following a successful "yes" vote in a local referendum, a directly elected mayor is established to replace the council leader. Since 2007, councils can adopt the elected mayoral model without a referendum. Most authorities with elected mayors had a ceremonial mayor and the two roles continue to exist concurrently.
As of May 2015, 16 council areas are using the "mayor and cabinet" model of governance with a directly elected executive mayor. The system of elected mayors had been considered by the Major ministry, the former Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine had been a proponent of it; the 1997 Labour manifesto included a commitment to reform local government in London by introducing an elected mayor. The first directly elected mayor was introduced in Greater London in 2000 as part of the statutory provisions of the Greater London Authority Act 1999; the position of the elected Mayor of London is a strategic regional one, quite different from that of local authority mayors. The work of the Mayor of London is scrutinised by the London Assembly, a unique arrangement in the English local government system; the Mayor of London cannot be removed from office by a referendum following a petition, as is the case for directly elected mayors elsewhere in England. Elsewhere in England and Wales, since the Local Government Act 2000, there have been a range of options for how a local council executive leadership can be constituted, installing a directly elected mayor is one of these options.
The 2000 act ended the previous committee-based system, where functions were exercised by committees of the council. All of several hundred principal councils were required to review their executive arrangements under the 2000 legislation. Local authorities considering the option of an elected mayor were required to put the question to a local referendum, it is possible for campaign groups to trigger a local referendum with a signed petition. A number of areas with elected mayors have civic mayors or Lord mayors and these ceremonial roles conferred on acting councillors are separate from elected mayors. Eleven mayors were established during 2002, covering metropolitan and non-metropolitan districts, unitary authorities and London boroughs. Three further mayoralties were created under this legislation: in 2005, 2010, 2015; some of the first mayoral elections were won by independents, notably in Hartlepool, where the election was won by Stuart Drummond, who played Hartlepool United's mascot. Although Wales is included in the legislation, only one Welsh authority, has held a referendum on such a proposal.
The referendum, in May 2004, resulted in the proposal being rejected by over 70% of the voters. In October 2006, the DCLG white paper Strong and Prosperous Communities proposed that in future the requirement for a referendum to approve the establishment of an elected mayor for a council area be dropped in favour of a simple resolution of the council following community consultation, it proposed the direct election of council cabinets where requested, that the "mayor and council manager" system in Stoke-on-Trent be reformed into a conventional "mayor and cabinet" system, it having been the only English council to adopt that system. The "mayor and council manager" option was revoked by the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and a referendum was no longer required if two thirds of a council voted in favour of the change in executive model; the elected cabinet option was not taken forward. The 2007 legislation required all local authorities to review their executive arrangements again and consider the case for an elected mayor.
In February 2006, the Institute for Public Policy Research published a report calling for elected mayors in Birmingham and Manchester, positively received by the government, but not by the two city councils concerned. British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed support for the system, saying directly elected mayors are "accountable" and can "galvanise action". On 2 May 2012, think tank the Bow Group published a short article supporting directly elected mayors in large English cities; the Localism Act 2011 permitted central government to trigger referendums for elected mayors, this was intended to happen in the largest cities during 2012. Ahead of this, Leicester City Council in 2011 and Liverpool City Council in 2012 exercised their option to have a directly elected mayor without a referendum. In September 2011 citizens of Salford collected the required number of signatures to force a referendum, successful; the first mayoral election took place in May 2012. Using the powers in the Localism Act 2011, on 3 May 2012, referendums were held in 10 English cities to decide whether or not to switch to a system that includes a directly elected mayor.
Only one, voted for a mayoral system. Doncaster voted to retain its elected mayoral system in a referendum held on the same day. In 2014
Martin Williams (politician)
Martin Williams was an American Democratic politician who served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. He was majority floor leader of the House from 1910 to 1916. Martin Williams at The Virginia Elections and State Elected Officials Database Project, 1776-2007 Martin Williams at Find a Grave
Doncaster is a large town in South Yorkshire, England. Together with its surrounding suburbs and settlements, the town forms part of the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster, which had a mid-2017 est. population of 308,900. The town itself has a population of 109,805 The Doncaster Urban Area had a population of 158,141 in 2011 and includes Doncaster and neighbouring small villages. Part of the West Riding of Yorkshire until 1974, Doncaster is about 17 miles north-east of Sheffield, with which it is served by an international airport, Doncaster Sheffield Airport in Finningley. Under the Local Government Act 1972, Doncaster was incorporated into a newly created metropolitan borough in 1974, itself incorporated with other nearby boroughs in the 1974 creation of the metropolitan county of South Yorkshire. Inhabited by earlier people, Doncaster grew up at the site of a Roman fort constructed in the 1st century at a crossing of the River Don; the 2nd-century Antonine Itinerary and the early-5th-century Notitia Dignitatum called this fort Danum.
The first section of the road to the Doncaster fort had been constructed since the early 50s, while a route through the north Derbyshire hills was opened in the latter half of the 1st century by Governor Gn. Julius Agricola during the late 70s. Doncaster provided an alternative direct land route between York; the main route between Lincoln and York was Ermine Street, which required parties to break into smaller units to cross the Humber in boats. As this was not always practical, the Romans considered Doncaster to be an important staging post; the Roman road through Doncaster appears on two routes recorded in the Antonine Itinerary. The itinerary include the same section of road between Lincoln and York, list three stations along the route between these two coloniae. Routes 7 and 8 are entitled "the route from York to London". Several areas of known intense archaeological interest have been identified in the town, although many—in particular St Sepulchre Gate—remain hidden under buildings; the Roman fort is believed to have been located on the site, now covered by St George's Minster, next to the River Don.
The Doncaster garrison units are named in the Register produced near the end of Roman rule in Britain: it was the home of the Crispinian Horse named because it was recruited from among the tribes living near Crispiana in Pannonia Superior, but owing to Crispus, son of Constantine the Great, being headquartered there while his father was based in nearby York. The Register names the unit as under the command of the "Duke of the Britons". Doncaster is believed to be the Cair Daun listed as one of the 28 cities of Britain in the 9th-century History of the Britons traditionally attributed to Nennius, it was an Anglo-Saxon burh, during which period it received its present name: "Don-" from the Roman settlement and river and "-caster" from an Old English adaptation of the Latin castra. The settlement was mentioned in the 1003 will of Wulfric Spott. Shortly after the Norman Conquest, Nigel Fossard refortified the town and constructed Conisbrough Castle. By the time of the Domesday Book, Hexthorpe in the wapentake of Strafforth was described as having a church and two mills.
The historian David Hey says. He suggests that the street name Frenchgate indicates that Fossard invited fellow Normans to trade in the town. Doncaster was ceded to Scotland in the Treaty of Durham; as the 13th century approached, Doncaster matured into a busy town. Doncaster had a disastrous fire in 1204, from which it recovered. At the time, buildings were built of wood, open fireplaces were used for cooking and heating. Fire was a constant hazard. In 1248, a charter was granted for Doncaster's market to be held around the Church of St Mary Magdalene, built in Norman times. In the 16th century, the church was adapted for use as the town hall, it was demolished in 1846. Some 750 years on, the market continues to operate, with its busy traders located both under cover, at the 19th-century'Corn Exchange' building and in outside stalls; the Corn Exchange was extensively rebuilt in 1994 after a major fire. During the 14th century, numerous friars arrived in Doncaster who were known for their religious enthusiasm and preaching.
In 1307 the Franciscan friars arrived, Carmelites arrived in the middle of the 14th century. In the Medieval period, other major features of the town included the Hospital of St Nicholas and the leper colony of the Hospital of St James, a moot hall, grammar school, the five-arched stone town bridge, with a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Bridge. By 1334, Doncaster was the wealthiest town in southern Yorkshire and the sixth most important town in Yorkshire as a whole boasting its own banker. By 1379, it was recovering from the Black Death, which had reduced its population to 1,500. In October 1536, the Pilgrimage of Grace ended in Doncaster; this was a rebellion led by the lawyer Robert Aske, who commanded 40,000 people of Yorkshire against Henry VIII in protest about the monarch's Dissolution of the Monasteries. Many of Doncaster's streets are named with the suffix'gate'; the word ` gate' is derived from the old Danish word ` gata,'. During Medieval times, craftsmen or tradesmen with similar skills, tended to live in the same street.
Baxter is an ancient word for baker: Baxtergate was the bakers' street. Historians believe that'Frenchgate' may be n
Thorne, South Yorkshire
Thorne is a market town and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster in South Yorkshire, England. It has a population of 16,592, increasing to 17,295 at the 2011 Census; the land, now Thorne was once inhabited by Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age people. It became a permanent settlement around AD700, is mentioned in the Domesday Book; the main industries in the town have traditionally been farming. Thorne lies east of the River Don, on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal, is located at 53°36′30″N 0°57′30″W, at an elevation of around 16 feet above sea level, on the Yorkshire side of the border with Lincolnshire; the civil parish of Thorne includes the village of Moorends to the north. Thorne Memorial Park is the location for the Thorne Memorial Park Miniature Railway and the annual Thorne Festival. During the summer months, free brass band concerts are held at the park's bandstand. Thorne Community Wood is a community woodland created from agricultural land by Thorne-Moorends Town Council, The Peatlands Way, a circuitous walk around the wildlife areas of Thorne and Hatfield Moors, passes to the north of the town.
Thorne's Farmers' Market is a monthly event. The area now has its own Community Radio station, TMCR 95.3. For many decades in the twentieth century Thorne Colliery was a central focus of employment within the town, although its history was troubled. In recent years, employment opportunities have been increasing, most notably since the opening of Nimbus Park on the outskirts of the town, where The Range have operated a major distribution centre since 2012. Notable buildings in the town include Peel Hill Castle; the parish church consists of material from the 12th to 15th centuries with some additions and repairs. It is a grade I listed structure, is dedicated to St Nicholas. Peel Hill Castle is the earthwork remains of a Norman motte built by the de Warenne family. Although no structure remains, the foundations indicate, it might have been used as a hunting lodge, connected with Hatfield Chase, prisoners were kept in its tower in the 16th century. It was demolished in the 17th century; the monument is in the care of Thorne-Moorends Town Council.
There are Dutch-like bridges such as the Wykewell bridge. There is one remaining water tower, located on South End. Another water tower used to stand on Field Road, but was demolished in 2013; the subsequent empty land was, in 2015, earmarked as the planned location for a new Lidl supermarket. Nearby are the extensive Thorne Moors; the town is served by two railway stations: Thorne North, Thorne South. The town is served by four bus services; the services include the 87/87a towards Doncaster and Moorends, the 84 towards Doncaster, the 8/8a towards Doncaster and Moorends, the 86 service. The latter is a local route only connecting both Thorne and Moorends with the newly built retail park; the 8/8a and 86 services only operate on Saturdays. The 84 service operates on evenings only Monday to Saturday, throughout the day hourly on a Sunday, this is due to there being no 8/8a service on a Sunday; the A614 runs through the town. Many residents commute to Sheffield. In September 2005 a newly built school, Trinity Academy, opened in Thorne, specialising in Business and Enterprise.
The £24 million state-of-the-art Academy has nine classes per year group, had an initial school population of 1250 children between the ages of 11 and 18, is the third Christian Ethos school founded by Sir Peter Vardy. In 2004, 21 % of students from Thorne and Moorends achieved five or more passes above. Trinity was named as England's most improved academy in 2007, for which they were presented with an award by Sir Bruce Liddington, the Schools Commissioner in England and Wales, at a conference held in London run by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust; the Academy replaced Thorne Grammar School, whose notable alumni were the opera singer Lesley Garrett. Thorne's rugby league side, Moorends-Thorne Marauders RLFC, play in the CMS Yorkshire league during the winter season and the Rugby League Conference during the summer; the rugby union side, Thornensians RUFC play in Yorkshire Division 3 and have won the Yorkshire Cup on 2 occasions along with the South Yorkshire trophy on a record 12 occasions- the most recent in the 2014/15 season.
Their home ground is Coulman Road and big games can attract crowds above 300. Football is played by the Moorends Hornets and Stingers Junior Football Club. Speedway racing, earlier known as Dirt track racing, was staged at a track on the southern edge of the town in 1930. Billed as "The Wembley of the North" the track followed the edge of the football pitch on the inside of the track. Rather than two sweeping bends, the track is shown on contemporary ordnance survey maps as having four corners and four straights; the Sea Cadet unit in Thorne, TS Gambia, offers watersports and other activities to young people within the town. Roy Clarke, comedy writer Gillian Coultard, footballer Thomas Crapper and plumber Lesley Garrett, operatic soprano Leigh Jenkinson, footballer William Pool, inventor of the feathered paddle wheel Simon Worrall, rugby league footballer Ray Holt, professional footballer Garry Hemingway, rugby union, rugby league footballer of the 1950s and 1960s Media related to Thorne at Wikimedia Commons Thorne and Moorends Town Council Thorne Memorial Park Miniature Railway Thornensians Rugby Union Football Club 750 (
The English Democrats is an English nationalist political party in England. In its 2016 manifesto, the party proposed a devolved English Parliament, instead of its 2014 suggestion that England should become an independent country, it presents itself as an English equivalent to the Scottish National Party, though the Scottish National Party is considered to be a centre-left party, whereas the English Democrats are on the right of the political spectrum. The English Democrats have welcomed defectors from the far-right British National Party into leadership roles and former members of the party have criticised informal links with other far-right organisations, though party leader Robin Tilbrook has stated that party members are expected to pledge their opposition to racism; the party has been regarded by some as a fringe party. At the English local elections in June 2009, the party's candidate Peter Davies won the mayoral election for the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster. However, he announced his resignation from the party on 5 February 2013.
In 1998, in response to calls for the devolution of power to Scotland and Wales, Robin Tilbrook aimed at reforming the English National Party, which had ceased operating in 1981. This project included members of the Campaign for an English Parliament, a pressure group that lobbies for a devolved English Parliament; the party was relaunched as the "English Democrats" in September 2002, after merging with several other smaller political parties. In October 2004 the party merged with the Reform UK Party, a small splinter group from the United Kingdom Independence Party; the New England Party merged with the English Democrats in February 2007. The English Democrats were co-founders of the English Constitutional Convention, now defunct. In December 2004, it was rumoured that Robert Kilroy-Silk, the former UKIP MEP had entered into negotiation to join the English Democrats. However, Kilroy-Silk formed Veritas instead. In 2007, the columnist and TV medical doctor Vernon Coleman announced he had joined the English Democrats.
The party's most significant electoral success came when Peter Davies, its candidate for Mayor of Doncaster, was elected. Having received 16,961 votes in the first round, 189 votes behind the independent Michael Maye, Davies was returned in the second count on transfers of second preference votes, with 25,344 votes to 24,990. However, Davies announced his resignation from the party on 5 February 2013 citing "a big influx of new members joining from the British National Party". One of its councillors, Mick Glynn, resigned the following day after the party's chairman, launched a personal attack on Davies, thus reducing its number of elected representatives to two; the English Democrats lost their remaining councillors in the 2015 local elections. On 18 September 2015, Veritas merged into the English Democrats; the party claimed a total membership of 1,011 at the end of 2004, 1,202 at the end of 2005. The first person to stand as a candidate for the English Democrats was Gary Cowd, who stood in Rushmoor—West Heath Ward in North Hampshire in a council by-election in May 2003.
Cowd was an active member of a National Council member. He left the party in 2006. At the 2004 Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election the English Democrat candidate received 277 votes, or 1.4% of the votes cast. The party's slogan for the 2005 general election was "The English Democrats – Putting England First!" In total, the English Democrats fielded 25 candidates for the May 2005 general election, including Staffordshire South where the election was delayed until June due to the death of a candidate. The party withdrew its candidate in North Norfolk and endorsed the Conservative Party candidate, Iain Dale, as he had "taken the issues of English discrimination seriously". Garry Bushell, the former Sun journalist and current Daily Star Sunday TV critic, became the most high-profile candidate for the English Democrats, standing in the Greenwich and Woolwich constituency in London. Bushell's 1,216 votes beat Stan Gain, who secured 709 votes. In June 2005, Bushell stood in Staffordshire South, where he received 643 votes coming fifth out of eight candidates.
In 2011, Bushell announced that he would, in future, be supporting UKIP. The English Democrats fielded Joanne Robinson as their candidate in the by-election forced by the resignation of former shadow home secretary David Davis from the House of Commons; because of the issues raised by David Davis in the by-election, many parties other than the Conservatives, such as Labour, Liberal Democrats, United Kingdom Independence Party and British National Party chose not to stand. Joanne Robinson came third, with 1,714 votes, 44 votes fewer than the Green candidate received in second place. Of the 26 candidates she was one of only three to win back her deposit; this result is both the highest place gained and the highest percentage of the votes won by any English Democrat candidate in a parliamentary election or parliamentary by-election. The English Democrats stood 107 candidates in the 2010 general election. 106 is the minimum number required to qualify for a Party Election Broadcast. The English Democrats received 64,826 votes, or 0.3% of the vote in England, 0.2% of the vote in the United Kingdom.
No candidates were elected but the party saved one deposit in the Doncaster North constituency, where candidate Wayne Crawshaw picked up 5.2% of the vote. In subsequent by-elections, the party contested Oldham East and Saddleworth, Barnsley Central and Hes
Edward Samuel Miliband is a British politician, the Member of Parliament for Doncaster North since 2005, being re-elected in 2010, 2015, 2017. He was Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition between 2010 and 2015, he served in the Cabinet from 2007–10 under Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Miliband was born in the Fitzrovia district of Central London to Polish Jewish immigrants Marion Kozak and Ralph Miliband, a Marxist intellectual, a native of Brussels and fled Belgium during World War II, he graduated from Corpus Christi College and from the London School of Economics. Miliband became first a television journalist a Labour Party researcher and a visiting scholar at Harvard University, before rising to become one of Chancellor Gordon Brown's confidants and Chairman of HM Treasury's Council of Economic Advisers. Miliband was elected to the House of Commons in 2005. Prime Minister Tony Blair made Miliband Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office in May 2006; when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in 2007, he appointed Miliband Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Miliband was subsequently promoted to the new post of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, a position he held from 2008-10. After the Labour Party was defeated at the 2010 general election, Brown resigned as Leader of the Labour Party, his tenure as Labour leader was characterised by a leftward shift in his party's policies, by opposition to the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government's cuts to the public sector. He led his party including the 2014 European Parliament election. Following Labour's defeat by the Conservative Party at the 2015 general election, Miliband announced his resignation as leader on 8 May 2015, he was succeeded in the ensuing leadership election by Jeremy Corbyn. Born in University College Hospital in Fitzrovia, Miliband is the younger son of immigrant parents, his mother, Marion Kozak, a human rights campaigner and early CND member, is a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust thanks to being protected by Catholic Poles. His father, Ralph Miliband, was a Belgian-born Polish Jewish Marxist academic whose father fled with him to England during World War II.
The family lived on Edis Street in London. His elder brother, David Miliband, still owns the house today. Ralph Miliband left his academic post at the London School of Economics in 1972 to take up a chair at the University of Leeds as a Professor of Politics, his family moved to Leeds with him in 1973. Owing to his father's employment as a roving teacher, Miliband spent two spells living in Boston, one year when he was seven and one middle school term when he was twelve. Miliband remembered his time in the US as some of his happiest, during which he became a fan of American culture, watching Dallas and following the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. Between 1978 and 1981, Ed Miliband attended Primrose Hill Primary School, near Primrose Hill, in Camden and from 1981 to 1989, Haverstock Comprehensive School in Chalk Farm, he learned to play the violin while at school, as a teenager, he reviewed films and plays on LBC Radio's Young London programme as one of its fortnightly "Three O'Clock Reviewers".
After completing his O-levels, he worked as an intern to family friend Tony Benn, the MP for Chesterfield. In 1989, Miliband gained four A Levels—in Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics —and read Philosophy and Economics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. In his first year, he was elected JCR President, leading a student campaign against a rise in rent charges. In his second year he dropped philosophy, was awarded an upper second class Bachelor of Arts degree, he went on to graduate from the London School of Economics with a Master of Science in Economics. In 1992, after graduating from the University of Oxford, Miliband began his working career in the media as a researcher to co-presenter Andrew Rawnsley in the Channel 4 show A Week in Politics. In 1993, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Harriet Harman approached Rawnsley to recruit Miliband as her policy researcher and speechwriter. At the time, Yvette Cooper worked for Harman as part of Labour's Shadow Treasury team. In 1994, when Harriet Harman was moved by the newly elected Labour Leader Tony Blair to become Shadow Secretary of State for Employment, Miliband stayed on in the Shadow Treasury team and was promoted to work for Shadow Chancellor Gordon Brown.
In 1995, with encouragement from Gordon Brown, Miliband took time out from his job to study at the London School of Economics, where he obtained a Masters in Economics. After Labour's 1997 landslide victory, Miliband was appointed as a special adviser to Chancellor Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2002. On 25 July 2002, it was announced that Miliband would take a 12-month unpaid sabbatical from HM Treasury to be a visiting scholar at the Center for European Studies of Harvard University for two semesters, he spent his time at Harvard teaching economics, stayed there after September 2003 for an additional semester teaching a course titled "What's Left? The Politics of Social Justice". During this time, he was granted "access" to Senator John Kerry and reported to Brown on the presidential hopeful's progress. After Miliband returned to the UK in January 2004 Gordon Brown appointed him Chairman of HM Treasury's Council of Economic Advisers as a replacement for Ed Balls, with specific responsibility for directing the UK's long-term economic planning.
In early 2005, Miliband resigned
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