National Fire Service
The National Fire Service was the single fire service created in Great Britain in 1941 during the Second World War. The NFS was created in August 1941 by the amalgamation of the wartime national Auxiliary Fire Service and the local authority fire brigades, it existed until 1948, when it was again split by the Fire Services Act 1947, with fire services reverting to local authority control, although this time there were far fewer brigades, with only one per county and county borough. The NFS had full-time and part-time members and female, its uniform was the traditional dark blue double-breasted tunic, it adopted the peaked cap worn by the AFS instead of the peakless sailor-style cap, worn by many pre-war fire brigades. The peaked cap was retained by fire services after the war; when they were on duty, but in the frequent long stretches between calls, many firemen and firewomen performed vital wartime manufacturing work, in workshops in the fire stations or adjacent to them. This was voluntary, but since many of the wartime personnel had worked in factories before the war it was work with which they were familiar and skilled.
War service meant considerable risk, members of the NFS were called to attend the aftermath of German bombing raids and coastal shelling from France, or whilst these attacks were still ongoing. Casualties were inevitable, there is one record of one volunteer who died on duty aged just 19, was awarded the Certificate for Gallantry as a result, he is buried in the Hamilton Road Cemetery, Kent. The Chief of the Fire Staff and Inspector-in-Chief throughout the war was Sir Aylmer Firebrace, former Chief Officer of the London Fire Brigade. At peak strength the NFS had 370,000 personnel, including 80,000 women; the women were employed on administrative duties. The NFS was divided into about forty Fire Forces; these were subdivided into Divisions. Each Division had two Columns and each Column had five Companies. Sir Frederick Delve Leslie Leete Members of the NFS who were well known in civilian life included: A. L. Barker, writer Paul Brooks, cricketer Jack Dash, trade unionist and communist Cyril Demarne, writer Lewis Dorey, cricketer Charles Hadfield, canal historian Brian Moore, writer Ernest Race, furniture designer George Rudé, historian Audrey Russell, radio broadcaster William Sansom, writer Sir Stephen Spender, writer Phyllis Stedman, Baroness Stedman, politician Irene Thomas, radio personality An eleven-minute Second World War documentary that chronicles the birth and work of the NFS survived the war and is available to view on the British Pathe website.
Ministry of Civil Aviation Aerodrome Fire Service Fire services in the United Kingdom
Act of Parliament (UK)
In the United Kingdom an Act of Parliament is primary legislation passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. As a result of the Glorious Revolution and the assertion of parliamentary sovereignty, any such Act is in theory supreme law that cannot be overturned by any body other than Parliament, although it has been recognised through the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union that Acts or parts of Acts which conflict with EU law can be disapplied. An Act of Parliament can be enforced in all four of the UK constituent countries. A draft piece of legislation is called a Bill. Acts of Parliament are classified as either "Public General Acts" or "Local and Personal Acts". Bills are classified as "public", "private", or "hybrid". Public General Acts form the largest category of legislation, in principle affecting the public general law applying to everyone across the entire United Kingdom. Most Public General Acts proceed through Parliament as a public bill. Private Acts are either local or personal in their effect, applying to a named locality or legal person in a manner different from all others.
Private bills are "usually promoted by organisations, like local authorities or private companies, to give themselves powers beyond, or in conflict with, the general law. Private bills only change the law as it applies to specific individuals or organisations, rather than the general public. Groups or individuals affected by these changes can petition Parliament against the proposed bill and present their objections to committees of MPs and Lords." They include acts to confer powers on certain local authorities, a recent example being the Canterbury City Council Bill, which makes provisions relating to street trading and consumer protection in the city. Private bills can affect certain companies: the Northern Bank Bill allowed the statutory right of Northern Bank to issue bank notes to be transferred to Danske Bank which had acquired it. Other private bills may affect particular companies established by Act of Parliament such as TSB Bank and Transas. Personal Acts are a sub-category of private Acts, which confer specific rights or duties on a named individual or individuals, for example allowing two persons to marry though they are within a "prohibited degree of consanguinity or affinity" such as stepfather and stepdaughter.
Private bills, common in the 19th century, are now rare, as new planning legislation introduced in the 1960s removed the need for many of them. Parliamentary authorities maintain a list of all private bills before parliament. Hybrid bills combine elements of both private bill. While they propose to make changes to the general law, they contain provisions applying to specific individuals or bodies. Recent examples are the Crossrail Bill, a hybrid bill to build a railway across London from west to east, the 1976 Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill, a controversial bill, ruled to be a hybrid bill, forcing the government to withdraw some of its provisions to allow its passage as a public bill. Once passed, hybrid bills are printed as part of the Public General Acts. Parliamentary authorities maintain a list of all hybrid bills before parliament, it is important not to confuse private bills with private members' bills, which are public bills intended to effect a general change in the law. The only difference from other public bills is that they are brought forward by a private member rather than by the government.
Twenty private members' bills per session are allowed to be introduced, with the sponsoring private members selected by a ballot of the whole house, additional bills may be introduced under the Ten Minute Rule. Financial bills raise authorise how money is spent; the best-known such bills are the Finance Bills introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget. This encompasses all the changes to be made to tax law for the year, its formal description is "a Bill to grant certain duties, to alter other duties, to amend the law relating to the National Debt and the Public Revenue, to make further provision in connection with finance". Consolidated Fund and Appropriation Bills authorise government spending; this type of bill is designed to keep the business of government and public affairs up to date. These bills may not be controversial in party political terms. Two sub-classes of the housekeeping bill are consolidation bills, which set out existing law in a clearer and more up-to-date form without changing its substance.
An Act of Parliament will confer power on the Queen in Council, a Minister, or another public body to create delegated legislation by means of a Statutory Instrument. Bills may start their passage in either the House of Commons or House of Lords, although bills which are or financial will start in the Commons; each bill passes through the following stages: Pre-legislative Scrutiny: Joint committee of both houses review the bill and vote on amendments that government can accept or reject. Reports are influential in stages as r
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
Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments". Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Unlike Southern Ireland, which would become the Irish Free State in 1922, the majority of Northern Ireland's population were unionists, who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom.
Most of these were the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain. However, a significant minority Catholics, were nationalists who wanted a united Ireland independent of British rule. Today, the former see themselves as British and the latter see themselves as Irish, while a distinct Northern Irish or Ulster identity is claimed both by a large minority of Catholics and Protestants and by many of those who are non-aligned. For most of the 20th century, when it came into existence, Northern Ireland was marked by discrimination and hostility between these two sides in what First Minister of Northern Ireland, David Trimble, called a "cold house" for Catholics. In the late 1960s, conflict between state forces and chiefly Protestant unionists on the one hand, chiefly Catholic nationalists on the other, erupted into three decades of violence known as the Troubles, which claimed over 3,500 lives and caused over 50,000 casualties; the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including the decommissioning of weapons, although sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems, sporadic violence has continued.
Northern Ireland has been the most industrialised region of Ireland. After declining as a result of the political and social turmoil of the Troubles, its economy has grown since the late 1990s; the initial growth came from the "peace dividend" and the links which increased trade with the Republic of Ireland, continuing with a significant increase in tourism and business from around the world. Unemployment in Northern Ireland peaked at 17.2% in 1986, dropping to 6.1% for June–August 2014 and down by 1.2 percentage points over the year, similar to the UK figure of 6.2%. 58.2% of those unemployed had been unemployed for over a year. Prominent artists and sportspeople from Northern Ireland include Van Morrison, Rory McIlroy, Joey Dunlop, Wayne McCullough and George Best; some people from Northern Ireland prefer to identify as Irish while others prefer to identify as British. Cultural links between Northern Ireland, the rest of Ireland, the rest of the UK are complex, with Northern Ireland sharing both the culture of Ireland and the culture of the United Kingdom.
In many sports, the island of Ireland fields a single team, a notable exception being association football. Northern Ireland competes separately at the Commonwealth Games, people from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games; the region, now Northern Ireland was the bedrock of the Irish war of resistance against English programmes of colonialism in the late 16th century. The English-controlled Kingdom of Ireland had been declared by the English king Henry VIII in 1542, but Irish resistance made English control fragmentary. Following Irish defeat at the Battle of Kinsale, the region's Gaelic, Roman Catholic aristocracy fled to continental Europe in 1607 and the region became subject to major programmes of colonialism by Protestant English and Scottish settlers. A rebellion in 1641 by Irish aristocrats against English rule resulted in a massacre of settlers in Ulster in the context of a war breaking out between England and Ireland fuelled by religious intolerance in government.
Victories by English forces in that war and further Protestant victories in the Williamite War in Ireland toward the close of the 17th century solidified Anglican rule in Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the victories of the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne in this latter war are still celebrated by some Protestants. Popes Innocent XI and Alexander VIII had supported William of Orange instead of his maternal uncle and father-in-law James II, despite William being Protestant and James a Catholic, due to William's participation in alliance with both Protesant and Catholic powers in Europe in wars against Louis XIV, the powerful King of France, in conflict with the papacy for decades. In 1693, Pope Innocent XII recognised James as continuing King of Great Britain and Ireland in place of William, after reconciliation with Louis. In 1695, contrary to the terms of the Treaty of Limerick, a series of penal laws were passed by the Anglican ruling class in Ireland in intense anger at the Pope's recognition of James over William, felt to be a betrayal.
The intention of the la
England and Wales
England and Wales is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four nations of the United Kingdom. "England and Wales" forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows a single legal system, known as English law. The devolved National Assembly for Wales was created in 1999 by the Parliament of the United Kingdom under the Government of Wales Act 1998 and provides a degree of self-government in Wales; the powers of the Assembly were expanded by the Government of Wales Act 2006, which allows it to pass its own laws, the Act formally separated the Welsh Government from the Assembly. There is no equivalent body for England, directly governed by the Parliament and the government of the United Kingdom. During the Roman occupation of Britain, the area of present-day England and Wales was administered as a single unit, with the exception of the land to the north of Hadrian's Wall – though the Roman-occupied area varied in extent, for a time extended to the Antonine/Severan Wall.
At that time, most of the native inhabitants of Roman Britain spoke Brythonic languages, were all regarded as Britons, divided into numerous tribes. After the conquest, the Romans administered this region as the province of Britain. Long after the departure of the Romans, the Britons in what became Wales developed their own system of law, first codified by Hywel Dda when he was king of most of present-day Wales. However, after the Norman invasion of Wales in the 11th century, English law came to apply in the parts of Wales conquered by the Normans. In 1283, the English, led by Edward I, with the biggest army brought together in England since the 11th century, conquered the remainder of Wales organised as the Principality of Wales; this was united with the English crown by the Statute of Rhuddlan of 1284. This aimed to replace Welsh criminal law with English law. Welsh law continued to be used for civil cases until the annexation of Wales to England in the 16th century; the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 consolidated the administration of all the Welsh territories and incorporated them into the legal system of the Kingdom of England.
Prior to 1746 it was not clear whether a reference to "England" in legislation included Wales, so in 1746 Parliament passed the Wales and Berwick Act. This specified that in all prior and future laws, references to "England" would by default include Wales; the Wales and Berwick Act was repealed in 1967, although the statutory definition of "England" created by that Act still applies for laws passed before 1967. In new legislation since 1967, what was referred to as "England" is now "England and Wales", while references to "England" and "Wales" refer to those political divisions. England and Wales are treated as a single unit for some purposes, because the two form the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England; the continuance of Scots law was guaranteed under the 1706 Treaty of Union that led to the Acts of Union 1707, as a consequence English law—and after 1801, Irish law—continued to be separate. Following the two Acts of Union, Parliament can restrict the effect of its laws to part of the realm, the effect of laws, where restricted, was applied to one or more of the former kingdoms.
Thus, most laws applicable to England applied to Wales. However, Parliament now passes laws applicable to Wales and not to England, a practice, rare before the middle of the 20th century. Examples are the Welsh Language Acts 1967 and 1993 and the Government of Wales Act 1998. Measures and Acts of the National Assembly for Wales passed since the Government of Wales Act 2006 apply in Wales but not in England. Following the Government of Wales Act, effective since May 2007, the National Assembly for Wales can legislate on matters devolved to it. Following a referendum on 3 March 2011, the Welsh Assembly gained direct law-making powers, without the need to consult Westminster; this was the first time in 500 years that Wales had its own powers to legislate. Each piece of Welsh legislation is known as an Act of the Assembly. For a company to be incorporated in the United Kingdom, its application for registration with Companies House must state "whether the company's registered office is to be situated in England and Wales, in Scotland or in Northern Ireland", which will determine the law applicable to that business entity.
A registered office must be specified as "in Wales" if the company wishes to use a name ending cyfyngedig or cyf, rather than Limited or Ltd. or to avail itself of certain other privileges relating to the official use of the Welsh language. Outside the legal system, the position is mixed; some organisations combine as "England and Wales", others are separate. In sports, cricket has a combined international team administered by the England and Wales Cricket Board, who govern the sport across both nations, whilst football, rugby union, rugby league, the Commonwealth Games and other sports have separate national representative teams for each country. A few Welsh association football clubs, most notably Cardiff City F. C. and Swansea City F. C. play in the English football league system, while The New Saints F. C. which represents places on both sides of the border, plays in the Welsh football league system. Some religious denominations organise on the basis of England and Wales, most notably the Roman Catholic Church, but small denominations, e.g. the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
Prior to the disestablishment of the Church in Wales in 1920, the Anglican churc
History of fire brigades in the United Kingdom
The history of fire brigades in the United Kingdom charts the development of Fire services in the United Kingdom from the creation of the United Kingdom to the present day. Between the 17th century and the beginning of the 19th century, all fire engines and crews in the United Kingdom were either provided by voluntary bodies, parish authorities or insurance companies. James Braidwood founded the world's first municipal fire service in Edinburgh after the Great Fire of Edinburgh in 1824 destroyed much of the city's Old Town. Braidwood went on to become superintendent of the London Fire Engine Establishment, which brought together ten independent insurance company brigades in 1833. A 7-foot-tall bronze statue of Braidwood, located in Parliament Square in Edinburgh, commemorates his achievements; the Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire was formed in 1836 to provide mobile escape ladders. Today it exists to give "recognition to individuals who perform acts of bravery in rescuing others from fire".
James Braidwood was killed at the Tooley Street fire of 1861. This fire was a major factor in the decision of the British government, after much lobbying by liability-laden insurance companies and LFEE, to create the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1866; the MFB would be publicly controlled through the Metropolitan Board of Works. Its first superintendent was Captain Sir Eyre Massey Shaw. In 1904, the MFB changed its name to the London Fire Brigade. Outside London, new local government bodies created by late 19th century legislation (such as the Local Government Act 1894 took over responsibility for fire-fighting. Before 1938, there were some 1,600 local fire brigades in operation; the Fire Brigades Act 1938 constituted the councils of all county boroughs and county districts as fire authorities. The councils were required to provide the services for their borough or district of such a fire brigade and of such fire engines and equipment as may be necessary to meet efficiently all normal requirements.
At the same time, the Auxiliary Fire Service, consisting of unpaid volunteers, was formed in parallel to the Air Raid Precautions organisation. Every borough and urban district had an AFS unit, they operated their own fire stations in parallel to the local authority. Members of the AFS could be called up for full-time paid service if necessary, a similar arrangement applied to the wartime Special Constabulary; the effects of the 1938 Act were short lived, as all local brigades and Auxiliary Fire Service units in Great Britain were merged into the National Fire Service in 1941, itself under the auspices of the Civil Defence Service. There was a separate National Fire Service. Before the war, there had been little or no standardisation of equipment, most in the diameter of hydrant valves; this made regional integration difficult. The 1938 Act was replaced by the Fire Services Act 1947, which disbanded the National Fire Service and made firefighting functions the responsibility of county and county borough councils, meaning there were still far fewer brigades than before the war.
There were slightly different arrangements in Scotland from England and Wales. The Auxiliary Fire Service was reformed in 1948 as a national fire reserve, operated the famous Green Goddess "self-propelled pumps", tasked with relaying vast quantities of water into burning cities after a nuclear attack, with supporting local fire services. Local government was reorganised in the mid 1970s, meaning many fire brigades were merged and renamed. There have been some other amalgamations since including the 2013 merger of all Scottish services into one, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Before 1974 all but one of the fire brigades in England and Wales used the term "Fire Brigade", the exception was the City of Salford, which called itself "Fire Department". After 1974 All but two of the new authorities adopted the term "Fire Service", the two exceptions being Avon County and County Cleveland. Most of the older County brigades who came though the reorganisation with little change changed their names to "Fire Service", the only brigades not to adopt the term were London, East Sussex, West Sussex and Wiltshire, all of which still retained the name "Fire Brigade".
More almost all fire authorities have changed their name to "Fire and Rescue Service", the only exceptions to this are and London who still use "Fire Brigade" and West Midlands Fire Service. The following is a list of all the fire brigades created by the 1947 decentralisation, those created by mergers in the 1960s, up until local government reorganisation in 1974. From 1974 each of the new county councils and the Greater London Council maintained a separate fire brigade. In 1986 the GLC and the six metropolitan county councils were abolished; this led to the establishment of fire and civil defence authorities which were joint boards of London and metropolitan borough councils. Local government reform in the 1990s created a number of unitary authorities termed as district or borough councils but sometimes county councils, accordingly combined fire authorities constituted in a number of counties. In 1974 Wales was divided into each with a brigade; the Local Government Act 1994 replaced the eight counties with unitary authorities.
The authorities are grouped into three areas for the provision of rescue services. Fire services are administered by fi
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce