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28 October, 2012
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Government - United Kingdom
Government type:
Constitutional monarchy

Administrative divisions: England
47 boroughs
Barnsley, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bracknell Forest, Brighton and Hove, Bury, Calderdale, Darlington, Doncaster, Dudley, Gateshead, Halton, Hartlepool, Kirklees, Knowsley, Luton, Medway, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, North Tyneside, Oldham, Poole, Reading, Redcar and Cleveland, Rochdale, Rotherham, Sandwell, Sefton, Slough, Solihull, Southend-on-Sea, South Tyneside, St. Helens, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees, Swindon, Tameside, Thurrock, Torbay, Trafford, Walsall, Warrington, Wigan, Wirral, Wolverhampton
36 counties
Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Durham, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Worcestershire
36 counties
Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth
29 London boroughs
Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth
12 cities and boroughs
Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Salford, Sheffield, Sunderland, Wakefield, Westminster : districts: Bath and North East Somerset, East Riding of Yorkshire, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, North Somerset, Rutland, South Gloucestershire, Telford and Wrekin, West Berkshire, Wokingham
10 cities
City of Bristol, Derby, City of Kingston upon Hull, Leicester, City of London, Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, York
3 royal boroughs
Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Windsor and Maidenhead
Northern Ireland
24 districts
Antrim, Ards, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Coleraine, Cookstown, Craigavon, Down, Dungannon, Fermanagh, Larne, Limavady, Lisburn, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newry and Mourne, Newtownabbey, North Down, Omagh, Strabane
2 cities
Belfast, Derry
6 counties
County Antrim, County Armagh, County Down, County Fermanagh, County Londonderry, County Tyrone
Scotland
32 council areas
Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, The Scottish Borders, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), West Lothian;
Wales
11 county boroughs
Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Conwy, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen, Wrexham
9 counties
Isle of Anglesey, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Pembrokeshire, Powys, The Vale of Glamorgan
2 cities and counties
Cardiff, Swansea


Dependent areas:
Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands

Independence:
England has existed as a unified entity since the 10th century; the union between England and Wales was enacted under the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284; in the Act of Union of 1707, England and Scotland agreed to permanent union as Great Britain; the legislative union of Great Britain and Ireland was implemented in 1801, with the adoption of the name the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 formalized a partition of Ireland; six northern Irish counties remained part of the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland and the current name of the country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was adopted in 1927

Constitution:
Unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice

Legal system:
Common law tradition with early Roman and modern continental influences; no judicial review of Acts of Parliament; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations; British courts and legislation are increasingly subject to review by European Union courts

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
Chief of state: Monarch
Head of government: Prime Minister
Cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
Elections: None; the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually the prime minister

Legislative branch:
Bicameral Parliament comprised of House of Lords (consists of approximately 500 life peers, 92 hereditary peers and 26 clergy) and House of Commons (659 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms unless the House is dissolved earlier)

Elections: House of Lords - no elections (note - in 1999, as provided by the House of Lords Act, elections were held in the House of Lords to determine the 92 hereditary peers who would remain there; pending further reforms, elections are held only as vacancies in the hereditary peerage arise); House of Commons - last held 7 June 2001 (next to be held by NA May 2006)

Note: in 1998 elections were held for a Northern Ireland Assembly (because of unresolved disputes among existing parties, the transfer of power from London to Northern Ireland came only at the end of 1999 and has been suspended four times the latest occurring in October 2002); in 1999 there were elections for a new Scottish Parliament and a new Welsh Assembly

Judicial branch:
House of Lords (highest court of appeal; several Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are appointed by the monarch for life); Supreme Courts of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (comprising the Courts of Appeal, the High Courts of Justice, and the Crown Courts); Scotland's Court of Session and Court of the Justiciary

Political parties
Conservative and Unionist Party, Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland), Labor Party, Liberal Democrats, Party of Wales (Plaid Cymru), Scottish National Party or SNP, Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland), Social Democratic and Labor Party or SDLP (Northern Ireland), Ulster Unionist Party (Northern Ireland)

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Confederation of British Industry; National Farmers' Union; Trades Union Congress

Contributed by Central Intelligence Agency World Fact Book
7 February 2005

Personae

Terms Defined

Referenced Works