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Her Majesty’s Government (HMG), commonly referred to as the British Government is the executive and central government of the United Kingdom.[1][2]

The government is formed following a General Election, after the leader of a winning party is invited by the Queen to form a new government in Her name. The then Prime Minister appoints the remaining ministers to head the 24 Ministerial Departments, either from the House of Commons, the House of Lords or very occasionally a senior person outside of Parliament.[3]

The Prime Minister and the departmental heads collectively constitute the Cabinet, who's duty is to instigate government policy and co-ordinate the work of the departments. The executive authority of the government resides with the Queen.[4]

The current ministry is a coalition headed by David Cameron of the Conservative Party and his Deputy Nick Glegg of the Liberal Democrats.



The Cabinet is a body of ministers consisting mostly of departmental heads. Headed by the Prime Minister, this principle executive organ of the government is charged with formulating government policy and putting it into effect. The Cabinet has no legal foundation and exists purely by convention, although it is mentioned from time to time in statute. If the government loses a vote of confidence or suffers any other major defeat in the Commons, then the whole cabinet must resign.

Relationship with the Queen[edit]

The government is formed by and governs in the name of the Queen, who is the head of state. The Queen remains neutral in matters of government policy and is unable to vote or stand for election.[5][6][7]

The Queen has regular meetings with the Prime Minister and other ministers where she has the right to be consulted, to encourage and to warn. As Privy Councillors, the ministers advise the Queen on the execution of the Royal Prerogative. The Royal Prerogative are the governments executive powers that are vested in the Queen, and consist, in matters of;

Executive; appointment and dismissal of ministers, judges and officers in the armed forces and other public office holders.

Legislature; summoning and prorogation of Parliament; the granting or refusal of Royal Assent to bills, and; legislating via Order in Council or by letters patent.

Judiciary; functions of the Attorney General and Lord Advocate, and; pardoning of convicted offenders or remitting or reducing sentences.

Armed forces; Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces; the control, organisation and disposition of them.

Foreign Affairs recognition of foreign states; the accrediting of ambassadors; the declaration of war; the creating of treaties

Honours; fount of honours; creation and granting of peerages, and; conferring of honours and decorations.

Emergency; maintaining the Queen's Peace; requisitioning of ships; impressment of men into the Royal Navy, and; to enter, take or destroy property. (All where compensation would be payable).

Miscellaneous; issuing of Royal charters; mining of precious metals; coinage; ownership of treasure troves, swans, whales and soil; Crown immunity from being sued; guardianship of infants and the mentally ill, and; rights to bona vacantia. [8][9]

Relationship with Parliament[edit]

Government departments[edit]

The government is made up of some 24 ministerial departments, 19 non-ministerial departments and over 300 public institutions. Departments along with their agencies are responsible for executing government policy. The departments are as follows:[10]

Civil Service[edit]

Officially known as Crown Servants, Civil Servants execute the practical and administrative work of the government. The civil service is directed by the Prime Minister in his role as Minister for the Civil Service. Nearly 70% of Civil Servants work in the Department for Work & Pensions, HM Revenue & Customs, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice. [11][12]


See also[edit]