Governance of England

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There has not been a government of England since 1707 when the Kingdom of England ceased to exist as a sovereign state, as it merged with the Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. [1] The Kingdom of Great Britain continued from 1707 until 1801 when it merged with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which itself became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) in 1922 (in reality; in name in 1927) upon independence for most of the island of Ireland. The UK since then has gone through significant change to its system of government, with devolved parliaments, assemblies and governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. England, however, remains under the full jurisdiction, on all matters, of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the UK government as no devolved administration has been created for England within the new structure. This situation led to the anomaly, known as the West Lothian question, which is that Scottish Members of Parliament (MPs) have been able to vote on legislation that affects only England whereas English MPs have been unable to vote on certain Scottish matters due to devolution. In some cases, such as top-up university tuition fees and foundation hospitals, the votes of Scottish MPs have been crucial in helping pass legislation for England that the majority of English MPs have opposed.[ citation needed ] An attempt was made to address this anomaly in 2015 through the use of an English votes for English laws procedure which aims to ensure that legislation affecting only England requires a majority vote of MPs representing English constituencies.

Kingdom of England historic sovereign kingdom on the British Isles (927–1649; 1660–1707)

The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Sovereignty concept that a state or governing body has the right and power to govern itself without outside interference

Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.

Sovereign state Political organization with a centralized independent government

In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.

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Another possible solution to the West Lothian question would have been devolution to the English regions but attempts have been unsuccessful so far. Amongst the parts of England, Greater London has a degree of devolved power (although weaker than that of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) with power vested in an elected Mayor of London, currently Sadiq Khan and the London Assembly.

Regions of England United Kingdom sub-national administrative division used in England

The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England. Between 1994 and 2011, nine regions had officially devolved functions within government. While they no longer fulfill this role, they continue to be used for statistical and some administrative purposes. They define areas (constituencies) for the purposes of elections to the European Parliament. Eurostat also uses them to demarcate first level Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) regions within the European Union. The regions generally follow the boundaries of the former standard regions, established in the 1940s for statistical purposes.

Greater London County of England

Greater London is a ceremonial county of England that is located within the London region. This region forms the administrative boundaries of London and is organised into 33 local government districts—the 32 London boroughs and the City of London, which is located within the region but is separate from the county. The Greater London Authority, based in Southwark, is responsible for strategic local government across the region and consists of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. The City of London Corporation is the principal local authority for the City of London, with a similar role to that of the 32 London borough councils.

Mayor of London head of the government of Greater London

The Mayor of London is the executive of the Greater London Authority. The current Mayor is Sadiq Khan, who took up office on 9 May 2016. The position was held by Ken Livingstone from the creation of the role on 4 May 2000, until he was defeated in May 2008 by Boris Johnson, who served two terms before being succeeded by Khan.

The country is therefore officially divided into the following in terms of governance:

Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England

Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties are one of the four levels of subdivisions of England used for the purposes of local government outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly. As originally constituted, the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties each consisted of multiple districts, had a county council and were also the counties for the purposes of Lieutenancies. Later changes in legislation during the 1980s and 1990s have allowed counties without county councils and 'unitary authority' counties of a single district. Counties for the purposes of Lieutenancies are now defined separately, based on the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties.

Ceremonial counties of England Collective name for areas, in England, to which a Lord Lieutenant is appointed

The ceremonial counties, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England, are areas of England to which a Lord Lieutenant is appointed. Legally the areas in England, as well as in Wales and Scotland, are defined by the Lieutenancies Act 1997 as counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies in Great Britain, in contrast to the areas used for local government. They are also informally known as geographic counties, as often representing more permanent features of English geography, and to distinguish them from counties of England which have a present-day administrative function.

The incumbent government has no plans to create a devolved English parliament.

A devolved English parliament or assembly is a proposed institution that would give separate decision-making powers to representatives for voters in England, similar to the representation given by the National Assembly for Wales, Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly. A devolved English parliament is an issue in the politics of the United Kingdom.

'England only' Government Departments of the UK Government

Several Government Departments of the UK Government have responsibilities for matters affecting England alone:

Department for Education United Kingdom government ministerial department

The Department for Education (DfE) is a department of Her Majesty's Government responsible for child protection, education, apprenticeships and wider skills in England.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs agriculture ministry of United Kingdom (British ministerial department)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is the government department responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Concordats set out agreed frameworks for co operation, between it and the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive, which have devolved responsibilities for these matters in their respective nations.

Natural environment All living and non-living things occurring naturally, generally on Earth

The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally, meaning in this case not artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth. This environment encompasses the interaction of all living species, climate, weather and natural resources that affect human survival and economic activity. The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished as components:

Other departments deal mainly with matters affecting England though they also have some UK wide responsibilities in certain areas;

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Politics of the United Kingdom political system

The United Kingdom is a unitary state with devolution that is governed within the framework of a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy in which the monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the head of state while the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, currently Theresa May, is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the British government, on behalf of and by the consent of the monarch, as well as by the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as well as in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The highest court is the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

Legislatures of the United Kingdom

The Legislatures of the United Kingdom are derived from a number of different sources from both within the UK and through membership of the European Union. The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body for the United Kingdom and the British overseas territories with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each having their own devolved legislatures. Each of the three major jurisdictions of the United Kingdom has its own laws and legal system.

Scottish Parliament Devolved parliament of Scotland

The Scottish Parliament is the devolved unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood area of the capital city, Edinburgh, it is frequently referred to by the metonym Holyrood.

Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a subnational level, such as a regional or local level. It is a form of administrative decentralization. Devolved territories have the power to make legislation relevant to the area.

West Lothian question

The West Lothian question, also known as the English question, is a political issue in the United Kingdom. It concerns the question of whether MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, sitting in the House of Commons should be able to vote on matters that affect only England, while MPs from England are unable to vote on matters that have been devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. The term West Lothian question was coined by Enoch Powell MP in 1977 after Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP for the Scottish constituency of West Lothian, raised the matter repeatedly in House of Commons debates on devolution.

Administrative geography of the United Kingdom Geographical subdivisions of local government in Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The administrative geography of the United Kingdom is complex, multi-layered and non-uniform. The United Kingdom, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe, consists of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For local government in the United Kingdom, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have their own system of administrative and geographic demarcation. Consequently, there is "no common stratum of administrative unit encompassing the United Kingdom".

Legislative consent motion

A Legislative Consent Motion is a motion passed by either the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, or Northern Ireland Assembly, in which it agrees that the Parliament of the United Kingdom may pass legislation on a devolved issue over which the devolved body has regular legislative authority.

Secretary of State for Scotland United Kingdom government cabinet minister with responsibilities for Scotland

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Scotland is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland representing Scotland. They head the Scotland Office, a government department based in London and Edinburgh.

Politics of England

The Politics of England forms the major part of the wider politics of the United Kingdom, with England being more populous than all the other countries of the United Kingdom put together. As England is also by far the largest in terms of area and GDP, its relationship to the UK is somewhat different from that of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The English capital London is also the capital of the UK, and English is the dominant language of the UK. Dicey and Morris (p26) list the separate states in the British Islands. "England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark.... is a separate country in the sense of the conflict of laws, though not one of them is a State known to public international law." But this may be varied by statute.

Unionism in Scotland is a political movement which seeks to keep Scotland within the United Kingdom (UK). Scotland is one of four countries of the United Kingdom which has its own devolved government and Scottish Parliament, as well as representation in the UK Parliament. There are many strands of political Unionism in Scotland, some of which have ties to Unionism and Loyalism in Northern Ireland. The three main political parties in the UK: the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats all support Scotland remaining part of the UK.

The Barnett formula is a mechanism used by the Treasury in the United Kingdom to automatically adjust the amounts of public expenditure allocated to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to reflect changes in spending levels allocated to public services in England, England and Wales or Great Britain, as appropriate. The formula applies to a large proportion, but not the whole, of the devolved governments' budgets − in 2013–14 it applied to about 85% of the Scottish Parliament's total budget.

English independence

English independence is a political stance advocating secession of England from the United Kingdom. Support for secession of England has been influenced by the increasing devolution of political powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where independence from the United Kingdom is a prominent subject of political debate.

English votes for English laws procedural rule

English votes for English laws (EVEL) is a set of procedures of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom whereby legislation which affects only England requires the support of a majority of MPs representing English constituencies. The procedures were developed following devolution in the United Kingdom as a result of the West Lothian question, a concern about the perceived inequity of MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, sitting in the House of Commons being able to vote on matters that affected only England, while MPs from England were unable to vote on matters that had been devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

Legislative Grand Committee

The Legislative Grand Committee is a committee of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Countries of the United Kingdom The four countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which make up the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) comprises four countries: England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland.

The decision of the Parliament of Scotland to ratify the Treaty of Union in 1707 was not unanimous and, from that time, individuals and organisations have advocated the reinstatement of a Scottish Parliament. Some have argued for devolution – a Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom – while others have advocated complete independence. The people of Scotland first got the opportunity to vote in a referendum on proposals for devolution in 1979 and, although a majority of those voting voted 'Yes', the referendum legislation also required 40% of the electorate to vote 'Yes' for the plans to be enacted and this was not achieved. A second referendum opportunity in 1997, this time on a strong proposal, resulted in an overwhelming 'Yes' victory, leading to the Scotland Act 1998 being passed and the Scottish Parliament being established in 1999.

Constitution of the United Kingdom Set of laws and principles under which the United Kingdom is governed

The United Kingdom does not have a codified constitution such as other countries tend to have. Instead of such a constitution, certain documents stand to serve as replacements in lieu of one. These texts and their provisions therein are considered to be constitutional, such that the "constitution of the United Kingdom" or "British constitution" may refer to a number of historical and momentous laws and principles like the Acts of Union 1707 and the Acts of Union 1800 which formulate the country's body politic. Thus the term "UK constitution" is sometimes said to refer to an "unwritten" or uncodified constitution. The British constitution primarily draws from four sources: statute law, common law, parliamentary conventions, and works of authority. Similar to a constitutional document, it also concerns both the relationship between the individual and the state and the functioning of the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary.

Devolution in the United Kingdom Granting Parliamentary powers to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

In the United Kingdom, devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the Parliament of the United Kingdom to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the London Assembly and to their associated executive bodies the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and in England, the Greater London Authority and combined authorities.

The Commission on the consequences of devolution for the House of Commons, also known as the McKay Commission, was an independent commission established in the United Kingdom to consider issues arising from devolution in the United Kingdom and their effect on the workings of the House of Commons. In the statement made by the government when setting up the commission, it referred to the West Lothian Question, a term coined in 1977 to refer to anomalies existing in the pre-devolution government of the UK.

References

  1. Welcome parliament.uk, accessed 5 March

Further reading

See also