My study blog


Posted by lednum on September 30, 2006


The Monarchy is the oldest institution of government. The Queen’s title in the United Kingdom is ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith’. In the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, Her Majesty is represented by a Lieutenant-Governor. In addition to being the Sovereign of the United Kingdom, The Queen is Head of State of 15 other realms and Head of the Commonwealth. In each country where she is Head of State, Her Majesty is represented by a Governor-General, appointed by her on the advice of the ministers of the country concerned and independent of the UK Government. In the Overseas Territories The Queen is usually represented by a Governor who is a member of the Diplomatic Service responsible to the UK Government for the administration of the country in which they serve.


The House of Commons consists of 659 elected MPs. In September 2003 there were 119 women MPs, and 12 MPs who had declared that they were of minority ethnic origin. Of the 659 seats, 529 represent constituencies in England, 40 in Wales, 72 in Scotland, and 18 in Northern Ireland. After a Parliament has been dissolved, and a General Election has been held, the Sovereign summons a new Parliament.When an MP dies, resigns or is made a member of the House of Lords, a by-election takes place. Members are paid an annual salary of £56,358 (from April 2003) and provided with up to £74,985 for staff salaries and £18,799 for incidental expenses involved in running an office (excluding certain IT equipment which is provided centrally). All MPs are entitled to travel allowances and to free stationery, inland telephone calls and postage from Parliament, and there are various other allowances, such as a supplementary allowance payable to MPs for Inner London and certain other seats to reflect the higher cost of living in the capital.


The House of Lords consists of:

-hereditary peers;

-life peers created to help carry out the judicial duties of the House (up to 12 Lords of Appeal in Ordinary or ‘Law Lords’ and a number of other Lords of Appeal);

-all other life peers; and

-the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester, and the 21 next most senior bishops of the Church of England.

The Government wants the House of Lords to be more representative of UK society. Under the House of Lords Act 1999, the number of hereditary peers was reduced from over 750 to 92. Another innovation was the appointment of non-political peers chosen from public nominees. In April 2001, 15 non-political life peers were selected from 3,166 applications. Members of the House of Lords receive no salary for their parliamentary work, but they can claim for expenses incurred in attending the House (for which there are maximum daily rates) and for certain travelling expenses. Attendance in the House averages about 350 to 450 members a day.


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