The head of the Government in the UK is the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the party which is elected to govern the country in general public elections.
The country is divided into 651 election areas called "constituencies" and representatives from each political party stands for election to represent that constituency in the House of Commons. Elected representatives are called Members of Parliament (MP).
The Prime Minister chooses his Cabinet who are MPs and are given responsibility over the various Executive (ie administrative) functions, which are often called Government Departments or Ministries. Cabinet members are called Ministers.
The Legislature (ie the Law making and reforming function) is shared between the House of Commons, referred to as the Lower House, and the House of Lords, referred to as the Upper House. Today however, the House of Commons is the superior chamber.
Members of the House of Lords (of which there are approximately 1,200 members), are not elected by the general public. Traditionally they were hereditary Lords of various parts of the country. There are still some hereditary Lords today, however, over the years Prime Ministers have selected often senior MPs to become Lords (and so become members of the House of Lords) just for their lifetime. In addition, Anglican Bishops are also members of the House of Lords. A section of the House of Lords is selected to carry out its Judicial function as the highest appeal court in the UK and the Commonwealth.
- Actuary's Department - Customs & Excise
- Defence, Ministry of - House of Lords
- Inland Revenue - National Savings Department
- Office of Fair Trading - Public Records Office
- Secret Service - Treasury, Her Majesty's
Tel: 0207 270 3000
Address: 10 Downing Street, SW1
Tel: 0207 218 6645
Address: Main Building,Horse Guards Avenue, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2HB show map
Administers and supports the armed forces as well as develops, produces and purchases equipment for the armed forces.
Tel: 0207 270 1500
Address: King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH show map
Responsible for the protection of British interests and citizens abroad, and for the communication channel between the British Government and other Governments on all matters concerning international relations.
Tel: 0207 210 3000 / 01232 520 700
Address: Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AZ show map
And: Stormont Castle, Belfast, N Ireland, BT4 3ST show map
The NIO is the office of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and is responsible for the legislative and executive powers formally vested in the Northern Ireland Government and Parliament.
Tel: 0207 270 3000 / 0131 556 8400
Address: Dover House, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AU show map
And: St.Andrews House, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG show map
The SO is the office of the Secretary of State for Scotland, and is responsible in Scotland for a wide range of functions including:-Agriculture and Fisheries, Education, Environment, Home & Health affairs, and Industry.
Tel: 0207 270 3000 / 01222 825 111
Address: Gwydyr House, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ER show map
And: Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF1 3NQ show map
The WO is responsible for a wide range of functions including:- tourism, road, town & country planning, agriculture, health, social services, housing, local government and water in Wales.