The United Kingdom of Grteat Britain and Northern Ireland
New words and word-combinations to be remembered:
bead of state глава держави
to vote голосувати
to win отримати перемогу
to depend on залежати (від)
to be responsible for відповідати за що-небудь
shadow тінь, тіньовий
to sign підписувати
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, The Queen is the head of state. But according to the constitution, power in the country belongs to Parliament. The monarch can only reign with the support of Parliament. The British Parliament consists of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. They meet only on symbolic occasions, such as the opening of Parliament. In reality, the House of Commons has true power. New bills are introduced and debated here. If the majority of the members are in favour of a bill it goes to the House of Lords to be debated and then to the Queen for signing.
Only then it becomes law. The House of Commons is made up of 650 elected members (MPs). They are elected by the people at a general elections. Parliamentary elections must be held every five years.
There are four political parties in Great Britain — the Conservative, the Liberal, the Labour and the Communist Parties. The political parties choose candidates in elections. The party which wins the majority of seats forms the Government. Its leader usually becomes the Prime Minister. The largest minority party becomes the Opposition. The majority party runs the country.
The Prime Minister chooses about 20 MPs from his party and they form Cabinet of Ministers. Each minister is responsible for a particular area of government. The leader of the Opposition chooses MPs too. They are responsible for opposing the government. They form the ‘Shadow Cabinet’, the Conservative and Liberal parties are the oldest. Since 19th century they were the only parties elected to the House of Commons. The members of the House of Lords are not elected.
Parliament in London is responsible for deciding national policy, but many public services are provided by local governments. They are responsible for organizing such services as education, libraries, police and others.
Answer the following questions:
1. What kind of country is the United Kingdom?
2. Who is the head of state?
3. What Houses does the British Parliament consist of?
4. Who has true power in the country?
5. When does a bill become law?
6. How many elected members are there in the House of Commons?
7. How many political parties are there in Great Britain?
8. Which party forms the government?
9. Who forms Cabinet of Ministers?
10. How is the «Shadow Cabinet» formed?
11. What is Parliament responsible for?
12. When are Parliamentary elections held?