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Last updated : Nov 2009
England Government
England Government - TravelPuppy.com
The United Kingdom is an hereditary monarchy, with the real power being held by the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the largest parliamentary party and also the head of the Cabinet.

The two main political parties are Labour and the Conservatives (Tories), although a centre party (the Liberal-SDP Alliance, later merged as the Liberal Democrats) threatened to disrupt this old balance in the mid-1980s.

None of the British parties holds seats in Northern Ireland, where the political map is split up between Unionist and Nationalist parties. Scotland and Wales return a handful of Nationalist MP's. The lack of proportional representation in parliamentary elections does not encourage the prosperity of smaller parties in Britain. Elections are held every 5 years, though the timing is at the discretion of the Prime Minister.

The legislature is bicameral; the House of Commons is made up of elected members, while the House of Lords is a peculiar mixture of appointed members, bishops, judges and hereditary peers. Britain is almost unique in the world with no written constitution, and the political and administrative machine is powered by a mix of common and statute law, judicial decisions and archaic convention; the royal assent to an Act of Parliament, is still proclaimed in Norman French.
Useful travel links
CIAWorld Factbook-UK information on the government of United Kingdom
Directgov A-Z of Central Government sites