England is a major constituent of the United Kingdom, the rest of which comprises Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. As such, it is under the basic political system. So, its political structure comprises a constitutional monarchy and a parliament.
The ruler is currently Queen Elizabeth II. Born on 21 April 1926, she has been ruling since 6 February 1952. She is the daughter of George VI, who was the last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth. She represents the Commonwealth of Nations (which comprises 54 member countries) and is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. She is also currently ruling over 16 Commonwealth Realms. These are:
• The United Kingdom
• New Zealand
• Saint Lucia
• Antigua and Barbuda
• Papua New Guinea
• The Bahamas
• The Solomon Islands
• Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
• Saint Kitts and Nevis
Buckinham Palace, London
England last had a government in 1707. However, in that year, the Acts of Union joined England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Since then, England has been ruled directly by the parliament. The House of Commons is the lower house of the British Parliament. This is situated in the Palace of Westminster. The House of Commons comprises 532 Members of Parliament for constituencies in England. The Parliament is run by a Prime Minister.
The United Kingdom of which England is a major part is also a member of the European Union. So, elections are held throughout England’s regions to ascertain who should be sent as Members of the European Parliament. These members will come from the various parties (e.g. Conservatives, Labour, Independence Party, Liberal Democrats, etc...)
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own parliament or assemblies that are responsible for dealing with local issues. This has raised some problems as Scotland’s and Wales’ Members of Parliament are able to affect English legislation, but England does not enjoy the same privileges when it comes to legislation for Scotland and Wales, since they are devolved governments. The potential solutions being considered are for England to have its own devolved parliament or for only the English Members of Parliament to vote on English matters.
There are different levels of administrative divisions in England. Districts can also be cities, boroughs or royal boroughs. Metropolitan counties function in a similar way to other unitary authorities and were usually called boroughs. Shire counties are divided into districts that are non-metropolitan. This means that their power has to be shared with the county council. The most local government unit in the country is the civil parish, the area of which is increasing on a constant basis.
There are a number of political parties in England, ranging from small minorities focussed on one major issue to large majority-led parties. These include:
• The English Democrats Party
• The Independence Party
• The Conservative Party
• The Pensioners’ Party
• The Free England Party
• The England First Party
• The Green Party
• The Labour Party
• The Liberal Democrats
The Church of England is the official Christian church of this country. The power of the church is usually exercised through the Prime Minister. 26 of the 44 diocesan archbishops and bishops sit in the House of Lords.