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The Government of Great Britain




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Great Britain is a parliamentary monarchy. Officially the head of the state is the Queen. She is an integral part of the legislature and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The power of the Queen in Britain is not absolute but constitutional. She acts only on the advice of the ministers, her powers are limited by Parliament.

The legislative power is vested in the Queen and Parliament made up of two Houses – the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the supreme legislative body. The British Parliament exists since 1265. It is the oldest Parliament in the world. The House of Lords is a non-elected chamber. The titles and seats are inherited there. The House of Commons is a nation-wide representative body. It is elected by a universal suffrage, which was introduced in 1918. The Commons has 650 elected Members of Parliament (MPs). They are granted a salary for their parliamentary work. They are elected by the general election, which is to be held every 5 years.

There is no written constitution in the country. The term “English Constitution” means the leading principles, conventions, laws and statutes. The British constitution does not provide written guarantees of individual political rights.

As a rule the Prime Minister is the leader of the party that has won the election and has the majority in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister appoints the ministers to compose the government. The ministers who have gained the confidence of the Prime Minister are presented to the monarch for the formal approval. Thus the Cabinet is formed. It is presided over by the Prime Minister and controls and runs the national affairs. About 20 ministers are in the Cabinet – the senior group takes major policy decisions. The second largest party forms the official Opposition, with its own leader and “shadow cabinet”. The Opposition has a duty to criticize government policies and to present an alternative program.

Exercise 1. Give Ukrainian equivalents for the following:

- to belong

- parliamentary work

- the head of the government

- written guarantee

- to form the cabinet

- to act on the advice of the ministers

- to gain the confidence

- formal approval



- tribunal

Exercise 2. Give English equivalents for the following:

- державні справи

- законодавча влада

- призначати платню

- верховна влада

- збройні сили

- глава системи правосуддя

- повноваження королеви

- обмежені парламентом

- представник держави

- пряме голосування


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