Succession to the British throne
Succession to the British throne is determined by descent, sex and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign's children or by a childless sovereign's nearest collateral line; the Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701 restrict succession to the throne to the legitimate Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover who are in "communion with the Church of England". Spouses of Roman Catholics were disqualified from 1689 until the law was amended in 2015. Protestant descendants of those excluded for being Roman Catholics are eligible. Queen Elizabeth II is the sovereign, her heir apparent is her eldest son, Prince of Wales. Next in line after him is Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, the Prince of Wales's elder son. Third in line is Prince George, the eldest child of the Duke of Cambridge, followed by his sister, Princess Charlotte and younger brother, Prince Louis. Sixth in line is Prince Duke of Sussex, the younger son of the Prince of Wales. Under the Perth Agreement, which came into effect in 2015, only the first six in line of succession require the sovereign's consent before they marry.
The first four individuals in the line of succession who are over 21, the sovereign's consort, may be appointed Counsellors of State. Counsellors of State perform some of the sovereign's duties in the United Kingdom while he or she is out of the country or temporarily incapacitated. Otherwise, individuals in the line of succession need not have specific official roles; the United Kingdom is one of the 16 Commonwealth realms. Each of those countries has the same order of succession. In 2011, the prime ministers of the realms agreed unanimously to adopt a common approach to amending the rules on the succession to their respective Crowns so that absolute primogeniture would apply for persons born after the date of the agreement, instead of male-preference primogeniture, the ban on marriages to Roman Catholics would be lifted, but the monarch would still need to be in communion with the Church of England. After the necessary legislation had been enacted in accordance with each realm's constitution, the changes took effect on 26 March 2015.
No official, complete version of the line of succession is maintained. The exact number, in remoter collateral lines, of the people who would be eligible is uncertain. In 2001, American genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner compiled a list of 4,973 living descendants of the Electress Sophia in order of succession, but did so disregarding Roman Catholic status; when updated in January 2011, the number was 5,753. The annotated list below covers the first part of this line of succession, being limited to descendants of the sons of George V; the order of the first seventeen numbered in the list is given on the official website of the British Monarchy. People named in italics are unnumbered either because they are deceased or because sources report them to be excluded from the succession. In 1485, Henry Tudor, a female-line descendant of a legitimated branch of the royal house of Lancaster, the House of Beaufort, assumed the English crown as Henry VII, after defeating Richard III, killed at the battle of Bosworth when leading a charge against Henry's standard.
Richard was the last king of the House of York, the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. Henry declared himself king retroactively from 21 August 1485, the day before his victory over Richard at Bosworth Field, caused Richard's Titulus Regius to be repealed and expunged from the Rolls of Parliament. After Henry's coronation in London in October that year, his first parliament, summoned to meet at Westminster in November, enacted that "the inheritance of the crown should be, rest and abide in the most royal person of the sovereign lord, King Henry VII, the heirs of his body lawfully coming."Henry VII was followed by his son, Henry VIII. Though his father descended from the Lancastrians, Henry VIII could claim the throne through the Yorkist line, as his mother Elizabeth was the sister and heiress of Edward V. In 1542 Henry assumed the title King of Ireland. Henry VIII's numerous marriages led to several complications over succession. Henry VIII was first married by whom he had a daughter named Mary.
His second marriage, to Anne Boleyn, resulted in a daughter named Elizabeth. Henry VIII had Edward, by his third wife, Jane Seymour. An Act of Parliament passed in 1533 declared Mary illegitimate. Though the two remained illegitimate, an Act of Parliament passed in 1544 allowed reinserting them, providing further "that the King should and might give, limit, appoint or dispose the said imperial Crown and the other premises … by letters patent or last will in writing." Mary and Elizabeth, under Henry VIII's will, were to be followed by descendants of the King's deceased sister Mary Tudor, Duchess of Suffolk. This will excluded from the succession the descendants of Henry's eldest sister Margaret Tudor, who were the rulers of Scotland; when Henry VIII died in 1547, the young Edward succeeded him, becoming Edward VI. Edward VI was the first Protestant Sovereign to succeed to the rule of England, he attempted to divert the course of succession in his will to prevent his Catholic half-s
British government departments
The government of the United Kingdom exercises its executive authority through a number of government departments or departments of state. A department is composed of employed officials, known as civil servants, is politically accountable through a minister. Most major departments are headed by a secretary of state, who sits in the cabinet, supported by a team of junior ministers. There are a number of non-ministerial departments; these are headed by senior civil servants, but are linked to a ministerial department through whose ministers they are accountable to Parliament. Departments serve to implement the policies of Her Majesty's Government, regardless of the government's political composition; as a consequence, officials within government departments are required to adhere to varying levels of political impartiality and neutrality. There are two types of government departments. Ministerial departments are led politically by a government minister a member of the cabinet and cover matters that require direct political oversight.
For most departments, the government minister in question is known as a secretary of state. He or she is supported by a team of junior ministers; the administrative management of a department is led by a senior civil servant, known as a permanent secretary. Subordinate to these ministerial departments are executive agencies. An executive agency has a degree of autonomy to perform an operational function and report to one or more specific government departments, which will set the funding and strategic policy for the agency. At "arm's length" from a parent or sponsor department there can be a number of non-departmental public bodies, known colloquially as quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations. Non-ministerial departments cover matters for which direct political oversight is judged unnecessary or inappropriate, they are headed by senior civil servants. Some fulfil a regulatory or inspection function, their status is therefore intended to protect them from political interference; some are headed by Second Permanent Secretaries.
Charity Commission for England and Wales Competition and Markets Authority Crown Prosecution Service Food Standards Agency Forestry Commission Government Actuary's Department Government Legal Department Her Majesty's Land Registry Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs National Crime Agency National Savings and Investments Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills Office of Gas and Electricity Markets Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation Office of Rail and Road Ordnance Survey Serious Fraud Office Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The National Archives UK Statistics Authority UK Trade & Investment Water Services Regulation Authority Office of the Prime Minister Politics of the United Kingdom Cabinet Office - UK Government GOV. UK - widest range of government information and services online A list of all public bodies granted Crown copyright
Legislatures of the United Kingdom
The Legislatures of the United Kingdom are derived from a number of different sources from both within the UK and through membership of the European Union. The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body for the United Kingdom and the British overseas territories with Scotland and Northern Ireland each having their own devolved legislatures; each of the three major jurisdictions of the United Kingdom has legal system. The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body for the United Kingdom and for English Law, it alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and its territories. Its head is the Sovereign of the United Kingdom and its seat is the Palace of Westminster in Westminster, London; the United Kingdom Legislation may take the form of Acts or Statutory Instruments, made under the authority of an Act of Parliament by either a government minister or by the Queen-in-Council.
The latter are subject either to parliamentary approval or parliamentary disallowance. The majority of Acts considered in the UK are defined as public general acts, or'Acts of Parliament' as they will have progressed and gained approval as a Bill through both House of Commons and House of Lords, have gained Royal Assent from the Monarch. Local and Personal Acts of Parliament are presented to Parliament as a result of sponsored petitions. These, are processed through committees to enable relevant or affected parties to challenge or change the proposed Act. Prerogative instruments, made by the Sovereign under the royal prerogative are another source of UK-wide legislation.. The UK Parliament is responsible for all matters relating to defence and all foreign affairs and relations with international organisations the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the European Union. With there being no devolved legislature in England the UK Parliament is the supreme body for its governance, public bodies and local government.
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is an elected chamber consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament which are elected using First past the post in single-member constituencies with 533 elected from England, 59 from Scotland, 40 from Wales and 18 from Northern Ireland. The House of Commons is now considered to be the supreme chamber of Parliament; the House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom however it is an unelected chamber with all members to the House of Lords being appointed. As of August 2018, there are 793 members known as "Peers"; the House of Lords no longer has the same powers as the House of Commons under the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 when it comes to blocking general legislation and the passing of financial legislation. The Scottish Parliament is the national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh; the Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament.
Of these 73 MSPs are elected using First past the post in single member constituencies and a further 56 MSPs are elected using the D'Hondt method, a form of party-list proportional representation in eight additional member regions with each region electing 7 MSPs. The Scottish Parliament was convened by the Scotland Act 1998, which sets out its powers as a devolved legislature; the Act delineates the legislative competence of the Parliament – the areas in which it can make laws – by explicitly specifying powers that are "reserved" to the Parliament of the United Kingdom: all matters that are not explicitly reserved are automatically the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament. The British Parliament retains the ability to amend the terms of reference of the Scottish Parliament, can extend or reduce the areas in which it can make laws; the first meeting of the new Parliament took place on 12 May 1999. The Scottish Statutory Instruments made by the Scottish Government are another source of legislation.
As with Statutory Instruments made by the British government, these are subject to either approval or disallowance by the Scottish Parliament The National Assembly for Wales has the power to make legislation in Wales. The Assembly was created by the Government of Wales Act 1998, which followed a referendum in 1997, it is a democratically elected body with 60 members known as Assembly Members. Of these 40 AMs are elected using First past the post in single member constituencies and a further 20 MSPs are elected using the D'Hondt method, a form of party-list proportional representation in five additional member regions with each region electing 4 AMs; the Assembly had no powers to initiate primary legislation until limited law-making powers were gained through the Government of Wales Act 2006. Its primary law-making powers were enhanced following a Yes vote in the referendum on 3 March 2011, making it possible for it to legislate in the 20 areas that are devolved without having to consult the UK Parliament, nor the Secretary of State for Wales.
The Assembly may delegate authority to enact legislation through Welsh Statutory Instruments. Under the Wales Act 2017 the Assembly came into line with Scotland and Northern Ireland and moved to a resevered powers model, it is expected that the National Assembly for Wales will be renamed the "We
Prime Minister's Questions
Prime Minister's Questions is a constitutional convention in the United Kingdom held as a single session every Wednesday at noon when the House of Commons is sitting, during which the Prime Minister spends around half an hour answering questions from Members of Parliament. Although prime ministers have answered questions in parliament for centuries, until the 1880s questions to the prime minister were treated the same as questions to other Ministers of the Crown: asked without notice, on days when ministers were available in whatever order MPs rose to ask them. In 1881 fixed time-limits for questions were introduced and questions to the prime minister were moved to the last slot of the day as a courtesy to the 72-year-old prime minister at the time, William Gladstone, so he could come to the Commons in the day. In 1953, when Winston Churchill was prime minister, it was agreed that questions would be submitted on fixed days. A Procedure Committee report in 1959 recommended that questions to the prime minister be taken in two fixed-period, 15-minute slots on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
The recommendations were put into practice under Harold Macmillan during a successful experiment from 18 July 1961 to the end of the session. The first question was delivered by Labour MP Fenner Brockway, asking to which Minister the UK Ambassador to South Africa would be responsible. In response to the Prime Minister's answer, Brockway said "May I express our appreciation of this new arrangement for answering Questions and the hope that it will be convenient for the Prime Minister as well as useful to the House?" PMQs were made permanent in the following parliamentary session, with the first of these on 24 October 1961. The style and culture of PMQs has changed over time. According to Speaker Selwyn Lloyd, the now famous disorderly behaviour of MPs during PMQs first arose as a result of the personal animosity between Harold Wilson and Edward Heath. In the past, prime ministers opted to transfer questions to the relevant minister, Leaders of the Opposition did not always take their allocated number of questions in some sessions, sometimes opting not to ask any questions at all.
This changed during the premiership of Margaret Thatcher, when the prime minister chose not to transfer any questions to other members of her Cabinet, Labour leader Neil Kinnock began asking more questions than his predecessors. His successor, John Smith, established the precedent of always taking his full allocation of questions. One of Tony Blair's first acts as prime minister was to replace the two 15-minute sessions with a single 30-minute session on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. but since 2003 at noon. The allocated number of questions in each session for the Leader of the Opposition was doubled from three to six, the leader of the third-largest party in the Commons was given two questions; the first PMQs to use this new format took place on 21 May 1997. During the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government from 2010–2015, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, as a member of the government, did not ask questions during PMQs. Instead the leader of the second largest parliamentary opposition party at the time, Nigel Dodds of the Democratic Unionist Party asked a single question in the session followed by at least one MP from another smaller party such as the Scottish National Party or Plaid Cymru.
Backbench MPs wishing to ask a question must enter their names on the Order Paper. The names of entrants are shuffled in a ballot to produce a random order in which they will be called by the Speaker; the Speaker will call on MPs to put their questions in an alternating fashion: one MP from the government benches is followed by one from the opposition benches. MPs who are not selected may be chosen to ask a supplementary question if they "catch the eye" of the Speaker, done by standing and sitting before the prime minister gives an answer; the Leader of the Opposition asks six questions at PMQs, either as a whole block or in two separate groups of three. If the first question is asked by a government backbencher, the Leader of the Opposition is the second MP to ask questions. If the first question is asked by an opposition MP, this will be followed by a question from a government MP and by the questions from the Leader of the Opposition; the leader of the third largest parliamentary party would ask two questions.
The first formal question on the Order Paper, posed by saying "Number one, Mr. Speaker", is to ask the Prime Minister "if s/he will list his/her engagements for the day"; the Prime Minister replies:This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall have further such meetings today; the reason for such a question is that the Prime Minister may be questioned only as to those matters for which he or she is directly responsible. Such matters are few in number, because many substantive matters are handled by the other Ministers in the Cabinet. By requiring the Prime Minister to list his or her engagements, the members may inquire whether the Prime Minister ought to be engaged in some other activity or be taking some other action. Before listing the day's engagements, the Prime Minister sometimes extends condolences or offers congratulations after significant events. During the Iraq War, Tony Blair introduced the practice o
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 –
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, better known as Boris Johnson, is a British politician and popular historian. He has been the Member of Parliament for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015, he had been the MP for Henley from 2001 to 2008. He was Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016, from 2016 to 2018 he served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. A member of the Conservative Party, Johnson identifies as a one-nation conservative and has been associated with both economically and liberal policies. Born in New York City to wealthy upper-middle class English parents, Johnson was educated at the European School of Brussels, Ashdown House School, Eton College, he studied Classics at Balliol College, where he was elected president of the Oxford Union in 1986. He was sacked for falsifying a quotation, he became The Daily Telegraph's Brussels correspondent, with his articles exerting a strong influence on growing Eurosceptic sentiment among the British right-wing. He was assistant editor from 1994 to 1999 before taking the editorship of The Spectator from 1999 to 2005.
Joining the Conservatives, he was elected MP for Henley in 2001, under party leaders Michael Howard and David Cameron he was in the Shadow Cabinet. He adhered to the Conservatives' party line but adopted a more liberal stance on issues like LGBT rights in parliamentary votes. Making regular television appearances, writing books, remaining active in journalism, Johnson became one of the most conspicuous politicians in the United Kingdom. Selected as Conservative candidate for the London mayoral election of 2008, Johnson defeated Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone and resigned his seat in the House of Commons. During his first term as Mayor of London, he banned alcohol consumption on much of the capital's public transport, championed London's financial sector, introduced the New Routemaster buses, cycle hire scheme, Thames cable car. In 2012, he was reelected to the office. In 2015 he was elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, stepping down as Mayor of London the following year. In 2016, Johnson became a prominent figure in the successful Vote Leave campaign to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union.
He became Foreign Secretary under Theresa May's premiership, but resigned in criticism of May's approach to Brexit and the Chequers Agreement. Johnson is a controversial figure in British politics and journalism. Supporters have praised him as an entertaining and popular figure with appeal beyond traditional Conservative voters. Conversely, he has been criticised by figures on both the left and right, who accused him of elitism, dishonesty and using racist and homophobic language. Johnson is a number of fictionalised portrayals. Johnson was born to British parents on 19 June 1964 in Manhattan's Upper East Side in New York City, his birth was registered with both the US authorities and the city's British Consulate, thereby granting him both American and British citizenship. His father, Stanley Johnson, was studying economics at Columbia University. Stanley's paternal grandfather was Circassian-Turkish journalist Ali Kemal. Johnson's mother was Charlotte Fawcett. S. In reference to his varied ancestry, Johnson has described himself as a "one-man melting pot" – with a combination of Muslims and Christians as great-grandparents.
Johnson was given the middle name "Boris" after a Russian émigré. Johnson's parents lived opposite the Chelsea Hotel, although in September 1964 returned to Britain so Charlotte could study at the University of Oxford, she lived with her son in Summertown and gave birth to a daughter, Rachel, in 1965. In July 1965, the family moved to Crouch End in North London. C. where Stanley had gained employment with the World Bank. A third child, was born in September 1967. Stanley gained employment with a policy panel on population control, in June moving the family to Norwalk, Connecticut. In 1969, the family settled into Stanley's family farm near Winsford in Exmoor. There, Johnson gained his first experiences with fox hunting. Stanley was absent from Nethercote, leaving Johnson to be raised by his mother and au pairs; as a child, Johnson was quiet and studious, although he suffered from deafness, resulting in several operations to insert grommets into his ears. He and his siblings were encouraged to engage in high-brow activities from a young age, with high achievement being valued.
Having few or no friends other than their siblings, the children became close. In late 1969 the family relocated to Maida Vale, North London, where Stanley began post-doctoral research at the London School of Economics. In 1970, Charlotte and the children returned to Nethercote, where Johnson was schooled at the Winsford Village School, before returning to London to settle in Primrose Hill, there being educated at Primrose Hill Primary School. In late 1971 another son, was born to the family. After Stanley secured employment at the European Commission, he moved his family to Uccle, Brussels in April 1973, where Johnson became fluent in French. Charlotte had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalised with clinical depression, with Johnson and his s