The Cabinet Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for supporting the Prime Minister and Cabinet of the United Kingdom. It is composed of various units that support Cabinet committees and which co-ordinate the delivery of government objectives via other departments, it has just over 2,000 staff, most of whom work in Whitehall. Staff working in the Prime Minister's Office are part of the Cabinet Office; the Cabinet Office's core functions are: Supporting the Prime Minister to define and deliver the Government’s objectives, implement political and constitutional reform, drive forward from the centre particular cross-departmental priority issues such as public service improvement, social exclusion and the third sector. This includes working with the Treasury to drive efficiency and reform across the public sector. Other functions include oversight of the Crown Commercial Service and the accreditation of Social Impact Contractors; the department was formed in December 1916 from the secretariat of the Committee of Imperial Defence under Sir Maurice Hankey, the first Cabinet Secretary.
Traditionally the most important part of the Cabinet Office's role was facilitating collective decision-making by the Cabinet, through running and supporting Cabinet-level committees. This is still its principal role, but since the absorption of some of the functions of the Civil Service Department in 1981 the Cabinet Office has helped to ensure that a wide range of Ministerial priorities are taken forward across Whitehall, it contains miscellaneous units that do not sit well in other departments. For example: The Historical Section was founded in 1906 as part of the Committee for Imperial Defence and is concerned with Official Histories; the Joint Intelligence Committee was founded in 1936 and transferred to the department in 1957. It deals with intelligence assessments and directing the national intelligence organisations of the UK; the Ceremonial Branch was founded in 1937 and transferred to the department in 1981. It was concerned with all ceremonial functions of state, but today it handles honours and appointments.
In modern times the Cabinet Office takes on responsibility for areas of policy that are the priority of the Government of the time. The units that administer these areas migrate in and out of the Cabinet Office as government priorities change; the Cabinet Office Ministers are as follows: The Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service is Sir Mark Sedwill. The Cabinet Office supports the work of: the Leader of the House of Commons. Cabinet committees have two key purposes: To relieve the burden on the Cabinet by dealing with business that does not need to be discussed at full Cabinet. Appeals to the Cabinet should be infrequent, Ministers chairing Cabinet Committees should exercise discretion in advising the Prime Minister whether to allow them. To support the principle of collective responsibility by ensuring that though a question may never reach the Cabinet itself, it will be considered. In this way, the final judgement is sufficiently authoritative that Government as a whole can be expected to accept responsibility for it.
In this sense, Cabinet Committee decisions have the same authority as Cabinet decisions. The main building of the Cabinet Office is at 70 Whitehall, adjacent to Downing Street; the building connects three distinct properties, as well as the remains of Henry VIII's 1530 tennis courts, part of the Palace of Whitehall, which can be seen within the building. The Whitehall frontage was designed by Sir John Soane and completed by Sir Charles Barry between 1845 and 1847 as the Treasury Buildings. To the west Dorset House connects the front of the building to William Kent's Treasury, which faces out onto Horse Guards Parade; the latter is built over the site of the Cockpit, used for cock fighting in the Tudor period, subsequently as a theatre. In the early 1960s the buildings were restored and many of the Tudor remains were exposed and repaired. Significant renovations between 2010 and 2016 converted many of the floors to open plan and created new office space; the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms are located on this site.
The department occupies other buildings in Whitehall and the surrounding area, including part of 1 Horse Guards, as well as sites in other parts of the country. The Cabinet Office has the following responsibilities at a UK national level. Political and constitutional reform the Home Civil Service the Electoral Commission the Boundary Commissions the Independent Parliamentary Standards AuthorityIts main counterparts in the devolved nations are as follows: Scotland Office of the First Minister Northern Ireland Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister Department of Enterprise and Investment Department of Finance and Personnel Department for Social Development Wales British Civil Service United Kingdom budget Prime Minister's Strategy Unit Social Exclusion Task Force Cabinet Office Briefing Room Public Sector Internal Identity Federation Official website Cabinet Office official Twitter feed
United States Under Secretary of State
Under Secretary of State is a title used by senior officials of the United States Department of State who rank above the Assistant Secretaries and below the Deputy Secretaries. From 1919 to 1972, the Under Secretary was the second-ranking official at the Department of State, serving as the Secretary's principal deputy, chief assistant, Acting Secretary in the event of the Secretary's absence. Prior second-ranking positions had been the Chief Clerk, the Assistant Secretary of State, the Counselor. Prior to 1944, a number of offices in the Department reported directly to the Under Secretary. In July 1972, the position of Deputy Secretary superseded that of Under Secretary of State; the following is a list of current offices bearing the title of "Under Secretary of State": Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Under Secretary of State for Management Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth and the Environment Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security and Human RightsIn addition to the six Under Secretaries, the Counselor of the Department, who advises the Secretary of State, holds a rank equivalent to Under Secretary.
The Department of State's list of Under Secretaries in the period that it was the second-ranking position. The Department of State's list of former and current positions
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
Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire
Andrew Robert Buxton Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire, styled Lord Andrew Cavendish until 1944 and Marquess of Hartington from 1944 to 1950, was a British Conservative and Social Democratic Party politician. He was a minister in the government of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, but is best known for opening Chatsworth House to the public. Cavendish was the second son of Edward Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire and Mary Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, the former Mary Alice Gascoyne-Cecil, daughter of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, he was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. Growing up, his elder brother, William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, was the heir apparent to the dukedom. Cavendish served in the British Army during World War II. Having attended an Officer Cadet Training Unit, he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards as a second lieutenant on 2 November 1940. On 7 December 1944, while holding the rank of acting captain, he was awarded the Military Cross'in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy'.
The action took place on 27 July 1944 when his company was cut off for 36 hours in heavy combat near Strada, Italy. He held the rank of major at the end of the war. In life, he took on a number of honorary positions within the military. On 2 December 1953, he was appointed Honorary Colonel of a Territorial Army unit of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. On 2 October 1981, he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Manchester and Salford Universities Officers' Training Corps, he relinquished this appointment on 2 January 1985. Cavendish ran unsuccessfully as a National Liberal candidate for Chesterfield in the 1945 general election and as a Conservative for the same seat in 1950, he was Mayor of Buxton from 1952 to 1954. He served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Commonwealth Relations from 1960 to 1962, Minister of State at the Commonwealth Relations Office from 1962 to 1963, for Colonial Affairs from 1963 to 1964, he once said that these appointments by his uncle, Harold Macmillan, the then-prime minister, were "the greatest act of nepotism ever".
He joined the Social Democratic Party shortly after its foundation in 1981. A supporter of David Owen – whom he described as "the best of them" – Cavendish chose to remain with the rump'continuing SDP' after the majority of the party's members voted to merge with the Liberal Party in 1988, he sat as a crossbencher during his rare appearances in the House of Lords. The duke followed the family tradition of owning racehorses, the most famous of, Park Top, the subject of the duke's first published book, A Romance of The Turf: Park Top, published in 1976, his autobiography, Accidents of Fortune, was published just before his death in 2004. The duke had many disputes over the years with the ramblers. Though, in 1991, he signed an agreement with the Peak National Park Authority opening 1,300 acres of his estate to walkers, he said that everyone was "welcome in my back garden". The duke's real estate holdings were vast. In addition to Chatsworth he owned Lismore Castle in Ireland and Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire.
He owned the bookshop Heywood Hill and the gentleman's club Pratt's. He was a major collector of contemporary British art, known for his patronage of Lucian Freud, he was one of the founders, the chief patron of, the Next Century Foundation, in which capacity he hosted the private Chatsworth talks between representatives of the governments of the Arab World and Israel. The duke was listed at number 73 in the Sunday Times Sunday Times Rich List of the richest people in Great Britain in 2004. In 1941 Cavendish married the Hon. Deborah Mitford, one of the Mitford sisters. Three of the couple's six children died soon after birth, the Duke's extramarital affairs became public after he appeared as a witness at a burglary trial and was forced to admit, under oath, that he was on holiday with one of a series of younger women when the crime occurred at his London home; the Duke, claimed that much of his marriage's success was due to the Duchess's tolerance and broadmindedness. The Duchess, as chatelaine, was responsible for the success of Chatsworth as a commercial endeavour.
Cavendish and his wife had six children. The three surviving children were a son, Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire, two daughters, Lady Emma Cavendish and Lady Sophia Topley. Mark Cavendish Lady Emma Cavendish, they have three children and ten grandchildren: Isabella Tennant she married Piers Hill, son of Simon Hill, on 9 August 1997. They have three children: Rosa Hill Victor Hill Lily Hill Edward Tobias Tennant, they have three children: Harry Tobias Tennant Georgia Rose Tennant Isla May Tennant Stella Tennant. They have four children. Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire, they have eight grandchildren. Lord Victor Cavendish Lady Mary Cavendish Lady Sophia Louise Sydney Cavendish, she remarried Alastair Morrison, 3rd Baron Margadale on 19 July 1988 and they were divorced. They have two children, she remarried again Willia
Conservative government, 1957–1964
The Conservative government of the United Kingdom that began in 1957 and ended in 1964 consisted of three ministries: the first Macmillan ministry, second Macmillan ministry, the Douglas-Home ministry. They were led by Harold Macmillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who were appointed by Queen Elizabeth II. Sir Anthony Eden resigned from his positions of Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 10 January 1957; this was a consequence of the Suez Crisis fiasco of the previous autumn, but was owing to his failing health. Harold Macmillan Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer, was chosen over Rab Butler as the new party leader and as Prime Minister. Harold Macmillan tried to placate Butler, who had stood against Macmillan as leader, by appointing him to the senior position of Home Secretary. Peter Thorneycroft became Chancellor of the Exchequer, but caused embarrassment for Macmillan when he resigned only a year later, he was replaced by Derick Heathcoat Amory Minister of Agriculture and Food.
Selwyn Lloyd was retained as Foreign Secretary, a post he held until 1960, when he succeeded Heathcoat Amory as Chancellor. Ernest Marples became Minister for Transport and the Earl of Home was promoted to Leader of the House of Lords and continued as Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs, before replacing Lloyd as Foreign Secretary in 1960. Lord Kilmuir and Alan Lennox-Boyd retained their offices of Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for the Colonies while Lord Hailsham became a member of the cabinet for the first time as Minister of Education. Future Chancellor Iain Macleod was appointed Minister of Labour and National Service and succeeded Lennox-Boyd as Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1961; the Conservatives comfortably won the 1959 general election, increasing their majority in the House of Commons, following a campaign slogan "Life's better with the Conservatives". This centred on the low unemployment, strong economy and rising standard of living that much of the British population was enjoying in the late 1950s.
However, a series of economic measures in the early 1960s caused the popularity of the Conservative Party to decline. Macmillan tried to remedy this by a major cabinet reshuffle in July 1962. Seven cabinet members were sacked in what became nicknamed the "Night of the Long Knives". Notably, the emerging Reginald Maudling replaced Selwyn Lloyd as Chancellor, Lord Kilmuir was replaced as Lord Chancellor by Lord Dilhorne, while Peter Thorneycroft returned to the cabinet as Minister of Defence. Rab Butler was promoted to the office of First Secretary of State; the reshuffle was controversial within the Conservative Party, was seen as a betrayal by many. Macmillan's credibility was affected by the 1963 Profumo affair; the election of Harold Wilson as Labour Party leader early in the year, following the sudden death of Hugh Gaitskell, was well received by voters, with opinion polls showing the Labour Party ascendant. However, it was still considered a surprise when Macmillan resigned in October 1963.
Macmillan's resignation saw a three-way tussle for premiership. Given that it was not considered appropriate for a Prime Minister to be a member of the House of Lords, the Earl of Home and Lord Hailsham both disclaimed their peerages under the Peerage Act 1963, became known as Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Quintin Hogg. Rab Butler was in the running for the post, but Douglas-Home was chosen to succeed Macmillan; this was seen as controversial, for it was alleged that Macmillan had pulled strings and used the party's grandees, nicknamed "The Magic Circle", to ensure that Butler was once again overlooked. In the Douglas-Home ministry, Rab Butler became Foreign Secretary, Henry Brooke replaced Butler as Home Secretary. Reginald Maudling continued as Chancellor, while Quintin Hogg remained as Lord President of the Council and Minister for Sports, he could not continue as Leader of the House of Lords, having ceased to be a member of it, but was made Minister for Education in April 1964. Selwyn Lloyd returned to the government after a one-year absence, as Leader of the House of Commons.
Douglas-Home's government was defeated in the October 1964 general election. He remained party leader until July 1965; the 1957–1964 Conservative government saw several emerging figures who would attain high office. Future Prime Minister Edward Heath became a member of the cabinet for the first time as Minister of Labour and National Service in 1959, while another future Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, held her first government post in 1961 as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Pensions; the government included future Chancellor Anthony Barber, future Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister William Whitelaw and future Secretary of State for Education and Science Sir Keith Joseph. Other notable government members included Enoch Powell, Lord Carrington, David Ormsby-Gore, John Profumo, Christopher Soames, Bill Deedes, Airey Neave and the Marquess of Salisbury. Harold Macmillan: Prime Minister Lord Kilmuir: Lord Chancellor Lord Salisbury: Lord President of the Council Rab Butler: Lord Privy Seal and Secretary of State for the Home Department Peter Thorneycroft: Chancellor of the Exchequer Selwyn Lloyd: Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Alan Lennox-Boyd: Secretary of State for the Colonies Lord Home: Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations Sir David Eccles: President of the Board of Trade Charles Hill: Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Lord Hailsham: Minister of Education John Scott Maclay: Secretary of State for Scotland Derick
Dictionary of National Biography
The Dictionary of National Biography is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives. Hoping to emulate national biographical collections published elsewhere in Europe, such as the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, in 1882 the publisher George Smith, of Smith, Elder & Co. planned a universal dictionary that would include biographical entries on individuals from world history. He approached Leslie Stephen editor of the Cornhill Magazine, owned by Smith, to become the editor. Stephen persuaded Smith that the work should focus only on subjects from the United Kingdom and its present and former colonies. An early working title was the Biographia Britannica, the name of an earlier eighteenth-century reference work; the first volume of the Dictionary of National Biography appeared on 1 January 1885.
In May 1891 Leslie Stephen resigned and Sidney Lee, Stephen's assistant editor from the beginning of the project, succeeded him as editor. A dedicated team of sub-editors and researchers worked under Stephen and Lee, combining a variety of talents from veteran journalists to young scholars who cut their academic teeth on dictionary articles at a time when postgraduate historical research in British universities was still in its infancy. While much of the dictionary was written in-house, the DNB relied on external contributors, who included several respected writers and scholars of the late nineteenth century. By 1900, more than 700 individuals had contributed to the work. Successive volumes appeared quarterly with complete punctuality until midsummer 1900, when the series closed with volume 63; the year of publication, the editor and the range of names in each volume is given below. Since the scope included only deceased figures, the DNB was soon extended by the issue of three supplementary volumes, covering subjects who had died between 1885 and 1900 or, overlooked in the original alphabetical sequence.
The supplements brought the whole work up to the death of Queen Victoria on 22 January 1901. Corrections were added. After issuing a volume of errata in 1904, the dictionary was reissued with minor revisions in 22 volumes in 1908 and 1909. In the words of the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, the dictionary had "proved of inestimable service in elucidating the private annals of the British", providing not only concise lives of the notable deceased, but additionally lists of sources which were invaluable to researchers in a period when few libraries or collections of manuscripts had published catalogues or indices, the production of indices to periodical literatures was just beginning. Throughout the twentieth century, further volumes were published for those who had died on a decade-by-decade basis, beginning in 1912 with a supplement edited by Lee covering those who died between 1901 and 1911; the dictionary was transferred from its original publishers, Elder & Co. to Oxford University Press in 1917.
Until 1996, Oxford University Press continued to add further supplements featuring articles on subjects who had died during the twentieth century. The supplements published between 1912 and 1996 added about 6,000 lives of people who died in the twentieth century to the 29,120 in the 63 volumes of the original DNB. In 1993 a volume containing missing biographies was published; this had an additional 1,000 lives, selected from over 100,000 suggestions. This did not seek to replace any articles on existing DNB subjects though the original work had been written from a Victorian perspective and had become out of date due to changes in historical assessments and discoveries of new information during the twentieth century; the dictionary was becoming less and less useful as a reference work. In 1966, the University of London published a volume of corrections, cumulated from the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research. There were various versions of the Concise Dictionary of National Biography, which covered everyone in the main work but with much shorter articles.
The last edition, in three volumes, covered everyone who died before 1986. In the early 1990s Oxford University Press committed itself to overhauling the DNB. Work on what was known until 2001 as the New Dictionary of National Biography, or New DNB, began in 1992 under the editorship of Colin Matthew, professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford. Matthew decided that no subjects from the old dictionary would be excluded, however insignificant the subjects appeared to a late twentieth-century eye. Suggestions for new subjects were solicited through questionnaires placed in libraries and universities and, as the 1990s advanced and assessed by the editor, the 12 external consultant editors and several hundred associate editors and in-house staff. Digitization of the DNB was performed by the Alliance Photosetting Company in India; the new dictionary would cover British history, "broadly defined", up to 31 December 2000. The research project was conceived as a collaborative one, with in-house staff co-ordinating the work of
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