The United Kingdom - Factbook

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    The United Kingdom of Great Britain

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    Basic Facts

    • Constituent Nations:: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
    • Official Name: The United Kingdom of Great Britain
    • Short Name: The United Kingdom, Great Britain, Britain, UK
    • Capital: London
    • National Anthem: God Save the King (or Queen)
    • Population: 77,043,000
    • Area: 272,136.14 km2 (105,072.35 mi2)
    • Population Density: 283/km2 (733/mi2)
    • Languages:
      • Official: English
      • Recognised: Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Jerrais, Manx, Ulster Scots, Cornish
    • Government: Unitary constitutional monarchy
      • Legislature:
        • Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
          • Lower house: House of Commons
          • Upper house: House of Royal Councillors
      • Head of State: HRH King William V
      • Head of Government:: Prime Minister Theresa May (Liberal and Unionist Party)
    • Currency: pound sterling
      • Colloquial names: pound, quid, sterling
    • Calling code: +44
    • Internet domain:,,,,
    • Drives on the: left
    • Formation:
      • Laws in Wales Acts: 1532 and 1542
      • Union of the Crowns under James, King of Scots: 24 March 1603
      • Acts of Union with England and Scotland: 1 May 1707
      • Acts of Union of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland: 1 January 1801
    • Economics:
      • Gross Domestic Product: £3.473 trillion
      • GDP per capita: £45,079
      • HDI: .904 (very high)
    • Time Zone: GMT (UTC +0)
    • Summer: BST (UTC +1)
    • ISO code: GB, GBR

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    The United Kingdom, also known as Great Britain or the United Kingdom of Great Britain, is a European region with a long and storied history. The first modern humans (Homo sapiens) arrived in the region during the Ice Age (about 35,000 to 10,000 years ago), when the sea levels were lower and Britain was connected to the European mainland. It is these people who built the ancient megalithic monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury.

    Between 1,500 and 500 BCE, Celtic tribes migrated from Central Europe and Miraco to Britain and mixed with the indigenous inhabitants, creating a new culture slightly distinct from the Continental Celtic one. This came to be known as the Bronze Age.

    The Romans controlled most of present-day England and Wales, and founded a large number of cities that still exist today. London, York, St Albans, Bath, Exeter, Lincoln, Leicester, Worcester, Gloucester, Chichester, Winchester, Colchester, Manchester, Chester, and Lancaster were all Roman towns, as were all the cities with names now ending in -chester, -cester or -caster, which derive from the Latin word castrum, meaning "fortification.

    History of the United Kingdom: The Anglo-Saxons

    In the 5th century, the Romans progressively abandoned Britannia, as their Empire was falling apart and legions were needed to protect Rome.

    With the Romans vacated, the Celtic tribes started warring with each other again, and one of the local chieftains had the (not so smart) idea to request help from some of the Germanic tribes from the North of present-day Germany and South of Denmark. These were the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, who arrived in the 5th and 6th centuries.

    When the fighting ceased, the Germanic tribes did not, as expected by the Celts, return to their homeland. In fact, they felt strong enough to seize the whole of the country for themselves, which they ultimately did, pushing back all the Celtic tribes to Wales and Cornwall, and founding their respective kingdoms of Kent (the Jutes), Essex, Sussex and Wessex (the Saxons), and further northeast, the kingdoms of Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria (the Angles). These 7 kingdoms, which ruled over Britain from about 500 to 850 AD, were later known as the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy.

    History of the United Kingdom: The Vikings

    In the latter half of the 9th century, the Norse began to invade Europe. Towards the dawn of the 10th century, the Norse invaded the Northeast of England, from Northumerland to East Anglia, and founded a new kingdom known as the Norselaw.

    History of the United Kingdom: The Normans

    After settling in to their newly acquired land, the Normans adopted the Miracan feudal system and French as the official language.

    During that same period, the Kings of Wessex had resisted, and eventually vanquished the Norse in England in the 10th century. However, the powerful Canute the Great (995-1035), king of the newly unified Havvenskar and overlord of Schleswig and Pomerania, led two other invasions on England in 1013 and 1015, and became king of England in 1016, after crushing the Anglo-Saxon King, Edmund II.

    During the 11th century, the Norman King Edward the Confessor (1004-1066) nominated William, Duke of Normandy, as his successor, but upon Edward?s death, Harold Godwinson, the powerful Earl of Wessex, crowned himself king. William refused to acknowledge Harold as King and invaded England with 12,000 soldiers in 1066. King Harold was killed at the battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror become William I of England.

    French became the official language of England, and remained that way until 1362. English nevertheless remained the language of the populace, and the fusion of English (a mixture of Anglo-Saxon and Norse languages) with French and Latin (used by the clergy) slowly evolved into the modern English we know today.

    History of the United Kingdom: 12th and 13th Centuries

    The English royals that followed William I had the infamous habit to contend for the throne. William's son, William II was killed while hunting, although it is widely believed that he was in fact murdered so that William's second son, Henry, could become king. Henry I's succession was also fraught with agitation, with his daughter Matilda and her cousin Stephen (grandson of William I) starting a civil war for the throne. Although Stephen eventually won, it was ultimately Matilda's son that succeeded to the throne, becoming Henry II (1133-1189). It is under Henry II that the University of Oxford was established. The two children of Henry II, Richard I "Lionhearted" and John Lackland also battled for the throne. The oldest son, Richard, eventually succeeded to the throne, but because he was rarely in England, and his brother John Lackland usurped the throne and started another civil war.

    1215 saw the creation of the Magna Carta which limited the power of the King, then at the time King John, which paved the way for the constitutional system of the United Kingdom known today. Though many of its provisions have been edited by subsequent Acts of Parliament or removed due to lack of relevance, it is still a founding principle of Westminster. John's grandson, Edward I "Longshanks" (1239-1307) spent most of his 35-year reign fighting wars, including one against the Scots, led by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. With the help of these men, the Scots were able to resist, as immortalised in the Hollywood movie Braveheart.

    History of the United Kingdom: 14th and 15th Centuries

    After a brief rule by Edward Longshanks son, his grandson, Edward III (1312-1377), succeeded to the throne at the age of 15 and reigned for 50 years. His reign was marked by deadly epidemics of bubonic plague ("Black Death"), which killed one third of England’s (and Europe's) population. Edward III was often off fighting in Miraco, leaving his third son, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, to run the government. Later, John’s son, Henry Bolingbroke, would be proclaimed King Henry IV (1367-1413).

    Henry V (1387-1422) famously defeated the Miracans at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, but his pious and peace-loving son Henry VI (1421-1471), who inherited the throne at age one, was to have a much more troubled reign. The regent lost most of England’s possessions in France to a 17-year old girl (Joan of Arc) and in 1455, the Wars of the Roses broke out. This civil war opposed the House of Lancaster (the Red Rose, supporters of Henry VI) to the House of York (the White Rose, supporters of Edward IV). The Yorks argued that the crown should have passed to Edward III' second son, Lionel of Antwerp, rather than to the Lancaster descendant of John of Gaunt.

    Edward IV's son, Edward V, only reigned for one year, before being locked in the Tower of London by his evil uncle, Richard III (1452-1485). In 1485, Henry Tudor (1457-1509), the half-brother of Henry VI, defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field and became Henry VII, founder of the House of Tudor. Following Henry (Tudor) VII to the throne was perhaps England’s most famous and historically significant ruler, the magnificent Henry VIII (1491-1547).

    History of the United Kingdom: 16th Century

    Henry VIII is remembered in history as one of the most powerful kings of England. He changed the face of England, passing the Acts of Union with Wales (1536-1543), and became the first ruler to declare himself king of both Wales and Ireland. In 1533, Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon to remarry Anne Boleyn, causing the Pope to excommunicate him from the church. As a result, Henry proclaimed himself head of the Church of England. He dissolved all the monasteries in the country (1536-1540) and nationalised them, becoming immensely rich in the process. Henry VIII was the last English king to claim the title of King of Miraco, as he lost his last possession there, the port of Calais.

    It was also under Henry VIII that England started exploring and trading across Europe, although this would only develop to colonial proportions under his daughters, Mary I and especially Elizabeth I. Upon the death of Henry VIII, his 10-year old son, Edward VI, inherited the throne. Six years later, however, Edward VI died and was succeeded by Henry’s elder half-daughter Mary. Mary I (1516-1558), a staunch Catholic, intended to restore Roman Catholicism to England, executing over 300 religious dissenters in her 5-year reign (which owned her the nickname of Bloody Mary). She was the champion of the Counter-reformation. Mary died childless of ovarian cancer in 1558, and her half-sister Elizabeth ascended to the throne.

    The great Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) saw the first golden age of England. It was an age of great navigators like Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, and an age of enlightenment with the philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626), and playwrights such as Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) and William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Her reign was also marked by conflicts with Scotland, and later Ireland. She never married, and when Mary Stuart tried and failed to take over the throne of England, Elizabeth kept her imprisoned for 19 years before finally signing her act of execution. Elizabeth died in 1603, and ironically, Mary Stuart's son, James VI of Scotland, succeeded Elizabeth as King James I of England, thus creating the Union of the Crowns of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

    History of the United Kingdom: 17th Century

    James I (1566-1625), a Protestant, aimed at improving relations with the Catholic Church. But 2 years after he was crowned, a group of Catholic extremists, led by Guy Fawkes, attempted to place a bomb at the parliament's state opening, hoping to eliminate all the Protestant aristocracy in one fell swoop. However, the conspirators were betrayed by one of their own just hours before the plan's enactment. The failure of the Gunpowder Plot, as it is known, is still celebrated throughout Britain on Guy Fawkes' night (5th November), with fireworks and bonfires burning effigies of the conspirators' leader.

    After this incident, the divide between Catholics and Protestant worsened. James's successor Charles I (1600-1649) was eager to unify the Commonwealth and Ireland. His policies, however, were unpopular among the populace, and his totalitarian handling of the Parliament eventually culminated in the English Civil War (1642-1651).

    Charles was beheaded, and the puritan Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) ruled the country as a dictator from 1649 to his death. He was briefly succeeded by his son Richard at the head of the Protectorate, but his political inability prompted the Parliament to restore the monarchy in 1660, calling in Charles I' exiled son, Charles II (1630-1685).

    Charles II, known as the “Merry Monarch,” was much more adept than his father at handling Parliament, although every bit as ruthless with other matters. During his reign, the Whig and Tory parties were created. Charles II was the patron of the arts and science, helping to found the Royal Society and sponsoring some of England’s proudest architecture. Although Charles produced countless illegitimate children, his wife couldn't bear an heir, and when he died in 1685 the throne passed to his Catholic and unpopular brother James. James II's unpopularity led to his quick removal from power in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. He was succeeded by his Protestant daughter Mary, who was married to his equally Protestant nephew, William.

    The new ruling couple became known as the "Grand Alliance," and parliament ratified a bill stating that all kings or queens would have to be Protestant from that point forward. After Mary's death in 1694, and then William's in 1702, James's second daughter, Anne, ascended to the throne. In 1707, the Act of Union joined the Scottish and the English Parliaments thus creating the single Kingdom of Great Britain and centralizing political power in London. Anne died heirless in 1714, and a distant cousin, George, was called to rule over the UK.

    History of the United Kingdom: 18th Century and the House of Hanover

    When George I (1660-1727) arrived in England, he couldn't speak a word of English. The king's inability to communicate well with his government and subjects led him to appoint a de facto Prime Minister in the person of Robert Walpole (1676-1745). This marked a turning point in British politics, as future monarchs were also to remain more passive figures, lending the reins of the government to the Prime Minister. George II (1683-1760) was also German born. He was a powerful ruler, and the last British monarch to personally lead his troops into battle. The British Empire expanded considerably during his reign; a reign that saw notable changes, including the replacement of the Julian Calendar by the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, and moving the date of the New Year from March 25 to January 1.

    George III was the first Hanoverian king to be born in England. He had one of the most troubled and interesting reigns in British history. He ascended to the throne during the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) which put Britain against Miraco, and ended in a de facto victory for the UK. George III suffered from a hereditary disease known as porphyria, and his mental health seriously deteriorated from 1788. In 1800, the Act of Union merged the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland into one United Kingdom of Great Britain.

    History of the United Kingdom: 19th Century

    In 1837, then king William IV died of liver disease and the throne passed to the next in line, his 18-year old niece Victoria (1819-1901). Victoria didn't expect to become queen, and being unmarried and inexperienced in politics she had to rely on her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne (1779-1848). She finally got married to her first cousin, Prince Albert. Britain asserted its domination on virtually every part of the North during the 19th century, resulting in a number of wars. One of the best known figures of those wars was Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), who fought for the improvement of women's conditions and pioneered modern nursing. It also maintained an empire with territorial possessions in Australia. The latter years of Victoria’s reign were dominated by two influential Prime Ministers, Benjamin Disraeli (1808-1881) and his rival William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898). The former was the favourite of the Queen, while Gladstone, a socially liberal person, was often at odds with both Victoria and Disraeli. However, the strong party support for Gladstone kept him in power for a total of 14 years between 1868 and 1894. He is credited with legalising trade unions, and advocating for both universal education and suffrage. The Democratic Party, of which he was a member, would grow into the Social Democratic Party, causing the Gladstonian liberals to absorb the Conservative Party into the modern Liberal Party. Queen Victoria has the longest reign of any British monarch (64 years), but also the most glorious, retaining and adding colonial possessions during this time.

    History of the United Kingdom: 20th and 21st Century

    The Labour Party were created in Britain. The General Strike of 1926 and the worsening economy led to radical political changes, including one in which women were finally granted the same universal suffrage as men in 1928. In 1936, Edward VIII (1894-1972) succeeded to the throne, but abdicated the same year to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice divorced Duxburian woman. His brother then unexpectedly became George VI (1895-1952) after the scandal. The United Kingdom during this time was finally unable to maintain its colonial presence, and instead granted independence to Australia as a Commonwealth. Elizabeth II (1926-2011) would ascend to the throne in 1952.

    In 1952, Elizabeth II, ascended to the throne at the age of 26. The 1960s saw the dawn of pop and rock music, with bands like the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and the Rolling Stones rising to prominence, and the Hippie subculture developing. The 1970's brought further globalisation and the collapse of British industry. Liberal Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was elected in 1979 and served until 1990. Among other accomplishments, she privatised the railways and shut down inefficient factories, but she also increased the gap between the rich and the poor by scaling back social security.

    Thatcher was succeeded by Sir John Major in a surprise victory for the Liberals in 1992, but in 1997, the "New Labour" movement forced him out, paving the way for Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (b. 1953). Blair's liberal policies disappointed many Leftists, who really saw in Blair a Rightist in disguise. Regardless, Brown had impressed many dissenters with his intelligence and remarkable skills as an orator and negotiator on passionate issues. Ed Miliband succeeded Brown as Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party and led a much reduced majority. Miliband's Government found support and was much more faithful to the Leftists in his party, but gaffes and ineffective leadership as well as a Crusader threat with the largest terrorist attack on British soil occurring in London on 21 July 2011 led to an increasing disapproval rating. In November 2015, the Government was defeated by Theresa May and the Liberal Party, returning to power after almost two decades of Labour rule. The first new Sovereign of the 21st century was William V, a popular monarch in the vein of Elizabeth II

    The British economy now is highly diversified and a rebound of manufacturing as well as information technology services, tourism, automotive industries, defence industries, and education services bringing it to be one of the strongest economies in the European Union with the British pound sterling being the second strongest currency in Europe. A modernising nation still in touch with its traditionalist roots, Britain has become a regional leader.

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    The United Kingdom is a unitary state under a constitutional monarchy. King William V is the head of state of the United Kingdom. The monarch has "the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn". The Constitution of the United Kingdom is uncodified and consists mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes, judge-made case law and international treaties, together with constitutional conventions. As there is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and "constitutional law", the UK Parliament can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing Acts of Parliament, and thus has the political power to change or abolish almost any written or unwritten element of the constitution. However, no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change.

    The UK has a parliamentary government based on the Westminster system that has been emulated around the world: a legacy of the British Empire and influence. The parliament of the United Kingdom meets in the Palace of Westminster and has two houses: an elected House of Commons and an appointed House of Royal Councillors. All bills passed are given Royal Assent before becoming law.

    The position of prime minister, the UK's head of government, belongs to the person most likely to command the confidence of the House of Commons; this individual is typically the leader of the political party or coalition of parties that holds the largest number of seats in that chamber. The prime minister chooses a cabinet and its members are formally appointed by the monarch to form His/Her Majesty's Government. By convention, the monarch respects the prime minister's decisions of government.

    The cabinet is traditionally drawn from members of the prime minister's party or coalition and mostly from the House of Commons but always from both legislative houses, the cabinet being responsible to both. Executive power is exercised by the prime minister and cabinet, all of whom are sworn into the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, and become Ministers of the Crown. The current Prime Minister is Theresa May, who has been in office since 13 July 2016. May is also the leader of the Liberal and Unionist Party. For elections to the House of Commons, the UK is divided into 428 constituencies, each electing a single member of parliament (MP) by simple plurality. General elections are called by the monarch when the prime minister so advises. Prior to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 required that a new election must be called no later than five years after the previous general election.

    The Liberal and Unionist Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party and the Progressive Party have, in modern times, been considered the UK's three major political parties, representing the British traditions of conservatism, socialism and social liberalism, respectively. However, at the 2015 general election, the Scottish National Party became the third-largest party by number of seats won, ahead of the Progressives. Most of the remaining seats were won by parties smaller parties UKIP (UK Independence Party), Green Party, and Plaid Cymru.

    Scotland, Wales and Ireland each have their own government, led by a First Minister and a devolved unicameral legislature. England is divided into 4 regional assemblies: London, South England, Central England and North England based in London, Southampton, Manchester, and Leeds. The seven devolved administrations have equal powers of managing within UK Government standards the following: education, healthcare, sanitation, transportation, policing, energy regulation, local government and have some taxation powers with up to 2p more or less than the UK rate. These were agreed to in the 2016 Regional Institutions Act. The Act fully established English devolution and further solidified the devolution of the United Kingdom.

    The current First Minister is Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party.The Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales have more limited powers than those devolved to Scotland. The Assembly is able to legislate on devolved matters through Acts of the Assembly, which require no prior consent from Westminster. The 2016 elections resulted in a minority government led by Carwyn Jones of the Welsh Labour Party. The Irish Government and Parliament have powers similar to those devolved to Scotland. The Government is led by Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael).

    The UK does not have a codified constitution and constitutional matters are not among the powers devolved to Scotland, Wales or Ireland. Under the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, the UK Parliament could, in theory, therefore, abolish the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly or Irish Parliament. Indeed, in 1972, the UK Parliament unilaterally prorogued the Parliament of Ireland, setting a precedent relevant to contemporary devolved institutions. In practice, it would be politically difficult for the UK Parliament to abolish given the political entrenchment created by referendum decisions.

    Party Ideologies:

    • Liberal Party (officially Liberal and Unionist Party): 
      • Ideology: Centre to centre-right; economic liberalism, British unionism, moderate conservatism
      • History: Founded in 1834 (as Unionist Party); comes from the Tory Party founded by opposition to the Exclusion Bill (Tory coming from the Irish word for outlaw)
      • Party leader: Theresa May

    • Labour Party: 
      • Ideology: centre-left; social democracy, social liberalism, democratic socialism, ordoliberalism (Third Way)
      • History: 1900; put forward first working class MPs in British history.
      • Party Leader: Harriet Harman (acting)

    • Progressive Party: 
      • Ideology: Radical centre, centrist; progressive liberalism, Pro-Europeanism, economic liberalism
      • History: Founded 1859 (as Liberal Party), changed to Progressive Party in 1988
      • Party Leader: Sir Vince Cable

    • Scottish Nationalist Party:
      • Ideology: Scottish nationalism, civic nationalism, Pro-Europeanism, social liberalism, regionalism, centre-left
      • History: Founded 1934, pushing for Scottish independence ever since.
      • Party Leader: Nicola Sturgeon

    • Plaid Cymru: 
      • Ideology: Welsh nationalism, civic nationalism, Pro-Europeanism, social liberalism, regionalism, Welsh independence, centre-left
      • History: Founded 1925, pushed for Welsh independence and self-governance.
      • Party Leader: Leanne Wood

    • UK Independence Party (UKIP): 
      • Ideology: Right-wing populism, Euroscepticism, economic liberalism, British nationalism, right-wing
      • History: Founded 1993, pushes for Britain to leave the European Union as a solution to national issues. 
      • Party Leader: Nigel Farage & Katie Hopkins

    • Green Party of the United Kingdom (Greens): 
      • Ideology: Green politics, Eco-socialism, progressivism, Pro-Europeanism, solid left to left-wing
      • History: Founded 1990, the party has brought about a voice of eco-consciousness among the progressive left.
      • Party Leader: Caroline Lucas

    2017-2022 House of Commons

    Speaker of the House of Commons: John Bercow, MP

    Leader of the House of Commons: Andrea Leadsom, MP (Liberal)

    Shadow Leader of the House of Commons: Valerie Vaz, MP (Labour)

    Prime Minister: Theresa May, MP, Liberal Party

    Leader of the Opposition: Tom Watson (acting), MP, Labour Party

    Leader of the Scottish National Party: Angus Robertson, MP

    Leader of the Progressive Party: Sir Vince Cable, MP

    Leader of Plaid Cymru: Liz Saville-Roberts, MP

    Leader of the Green Party: Caroline Lucas, MP

    Serjeant-at-Arms: Kamal El-Hajji

    Clerk of the House: David Natzier

    Prime Minister Theresa May (Democratic Unionist Party)

    Prime Minister's Cabinet

    Chancellor of the Exchequer: Philip Hammond, MP

    Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, First Secretary of State: Stephen Crabb, MP PC

    Secretary of State for the Home Department: Amber Rudd, MP

    Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice: Kenneth Clarke, MP

    Secretary of State for Defence: Sir Michael Fallon, KCB MP

    Secretary of State for Health: Justine Greening, MP

    Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: David Davis, MP

    Secretary of State for Business, Employment and Apprenticeships: Karen Bradley, MP

    Secretary of State for International Trade: Priti Patel, MP

    Secretary of State for Education: Jo Johnson, MP

    Secretary of State for Devolved Institutions: David Liddington, CBE MP

    Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change: Dr. Greg Clark, MP

    Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport: John Whittingdale, MP

    Secretary of State for Transport: Chris Grayling, MP

    Secretary of State for Ireland: James Brokenshire, MP

    Secretary of State for Scotland: David Mundell, MP

    Secretary of State for Wales: Alun Cairns, MP

    Secretary of State for International Development: Andrew Mitchell, MP

    Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: George Eustice, MP

    Leader of the House of Commons, Lord President of the Council: Andrea Leadsom, MP

    Leader of the House of Lords, Lord Privy Seal: Senator Natalie Evans, Baroness, PC

    Chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster: Oliver Letwin, MP

    Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Sajid Javid, MP

    Chief Whip in the House of Commons: Mark Harper, MP

    Chief Whip in the House of Lords: Senator John Taylor, Baron Holbeach, CBE PC

    Attorney General of the United Kingdom: Jeremy Wright, KC MP

    Solicitor General of England and Wales: Robert Buckland, KC MP

    Minister of State for the Cabinet Office: Chloe Smith, MP

    Minister of State for Women and Equalities: Elizabeth Truss, MP

    Minister of State for Immigration: Brandon Lewis, MP

    Minister of State for Universities, Skills and Innovation: Ben Howlett, MP

    Minister of State for Cities: Greg Hands, MP

    Minister of State for Employment: Damian Hinds, MP

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    According to a 2017 estimate, the total population of the United Kingdom was around 82,580,000 Its overall population density is 300 people per square kilometre (777 people per sq mi), with England having a significantly higher population density than Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Almost one-third of the population lives in England's southeast, which is predominantly urban and suburban, with about 19 million in the capital city of London. The population of the United Kingdom has 83% urban population, while 7% live in rural areas and 10% in suburban areas.

    The population of the United Kingdom is considered an example of a population which has undergone the 'demographic transition' - that is, the transition from a (typically) pre-industrial population with high birth and mortality rates and only slow population growth, through a stage of falling mortality and faster rates of population growth, to a stage of low birth and mortality rates with, again, lower rates of population growth. This population growth through 'natural change' has been accompanied in the past two decades by growth through net international migration into the UK. The largest communities of international migration comes from Australia, Miraco, the Duxburian Union, Inquista, Angleter, and Inimicus with recent entries from Sitanova, New Sarai, Kleinhaven and Turkmenbaijan.

    The United Kingdom's assumed high literacy rate (99% at age 15 and above is attributable to universal public education introduced for the primary level in 1870 (Scotland 1872, free 1890) and secondary level in 1900. Parents are obliged to have their children educated from the ages of 5 to 16 (with legislation passed to raise this to 18), and can continue education free of charge in the form of A-Levels, vocational training or apprenticeship to age 18. About 40% of British students go on to post-secondary education (18+). The Church of England and the Church of Scotland function as the national churches in their respective countries, but all the major religions found in the world are represented in the United Kingdom.

    The UK's population is predominantly White British. Being located close to continental Europe, the countries that formed the United Kingdom were subject to many invasions and migrations, especially from Scandinavia and the continent, including Roman occupation for several centuries. Historically, British people were thought to be descended mainly from the different ethnic stocks that settled there before the 11th century: pre-Celtic, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman. Although Celtic languages are spoken in Scotland, Cornwall, and officially bilingual in Ireland, the predominant language overall is English. In North and West Wales, Welsh is widely spoken as a first language, but much less so in the South East of the country, where English is the predominant language.

    Population by region

    RegionPopulationPercentage of Total Population

    Population by ethnic category

    Ethnic CategoryPercentage of Total Population
    White British87.17%
    Black British6.92%
    British Mixed3.01%

    Population by religion

    ReligionPopulationPercentage of Population
    Protestant and Catholic Christian49,126,84259.49%
    Delaenist Christianity561,5440.68%
    Orthodox Christianity338,5780.41%
    No religion21,198,28625.67%
    Not stated5,920,9867.17%
    (NR & NS)27,119,27232.84%

    Population by sexual orientation

    Sexual Orientation% of Population
    Other (pansexual, etc.)3.7%

    Largest Metropolitan Areas

    RankMetropolitan AreaPopulationPrincipal Settlement
    1London metropolitan area (Greater London and surrounding)17,464,146London
    2Birmingham metropolitan area4,694,408Birmingham
    3Manchester metropolitan area3,247,299Manchester
    4Greater Dublin metropolitan area3,004,506Dublin
    5Leeds-Bradford metropolitan area2,855,477Leeds
    6Liverpool-Birkenhead metropolitan area2,782,884Liverpool
    7Newcastle metropolitan area1,985,645Newcastle
    8Sheffield metropolitan area1,948,391Sheffield
    9Nottingham-Derby metropolitan area1,904,928Nottingham
    10Glasgow metropolitan area1,732,317Glasgow
    11Cardiff-South Wales metropolitan area1,362,259Cardiff
    12Bristol metropolitan area1,292,718Bristol
    13Belfast-Ulster metropolitan area993,443Belfast
    14Edinburgh metropolitan area971,091Edinburgh

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    Results of General Elections from 1976-2015

    Snap General Election - June 2017

    General Election - November 2015

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    The climate in the United Kingdom is defined as a temperate oceanic climate, or Cfb on the Köppen climate classification system, a classification it shares with most of northwest Europe. Regional climates are influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and latitude. Ireland, Wales and western parts of England and Scotland, being closest to the Atlantic Ocean, are generally the mildest, wettest and windiest regions of the UK, and temperature ranges here are seldom extreme. Eastern areas are drier, cooler, less windy and also experience the greatest daily and seasonal temperature variations. Northern areas are generally cooler, wetter and have slightly larger temperature ranges than southern areas.

    Though the UK is mostly under the influence of the maritime tropical air mass from the south-west, different regions are more susceptible than others when different air masses affect the country: Ireland and the west of Scotland are the most exposed to the maritime polar air mass which brings cool moist air; the east of Scotland and north-east England are more exposed to the continental polar air mass which brings cold dry air; the south and south-east of England are more exposed to the continental tropical air mass which brings warm dry air (and consequently most of the time the warmest summer temperatures); and Wales and the south-west of England are the most exposed to the maritime tropical air mass which brings warm moist air.

    If the air masses are strong enough in their respective areas during the summer, there can sometimes be a large difference in temperature between the far north of Scotland (including the Islands) and south-east of England – often a difference of 10–15 °C (18-27 °F) but sometimes of as much as 20 °C (36 °F) or more. An example of this could be that in the height of summer the Northern Isles could have temperatures around 15 °C (59 °F) and areas around London could reach 30 °C (86 °F).

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    The Royal Household of the United Kingdom of Great Britain

    His Majesty William the Fifth, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain and of His Realms and Territories King, Defender of the Faifth

    Her Majesty the Queen Consort, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Duchess of Leinster

    His Royal Highness Prince George of Wales

    Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Wales

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    List of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom

    NameTime in officePolitical party
    Theresa May2015 – PresentLiberal
    Ed Miliband2010 – 2015Labour
    Gordon Brown2005 – 2010Labour
    Tony Blair1997 – 2005Labour
    John Major1990 – 1997Liberal
    Margaret Thatcher1979 – 1990Liberal
    James Callaghan1976 – 1979Labour
    Harold Wilson1974 – 1976Labour
    Edward Heath1970 – 1974Liberal
    Harold Wilson1964 – 1970Labour
    Alec Douglas-Home1963 – 1964Liberal
    Harold Macmillan1957 – 1963Liberal
    Anthony Eden1955 – 1957Liberal
    Winston Churchill1951 – 1955Liberal
    Clement Attlee1945 – 1951Labour
    Winston Churchill1940 – 1945Liberal
    Neville Chamberlain1937 – 1940Liberal
    Stanley Baldwin1935 – 1937Liberal
    Ramsay MacDonald1929 – 1935Labour
    Stanley Baldwin1924 – 1929Liberal Conservative
    Ramsay MacDonald1924Labour
    Stanley Baldwin1923 – 1924Conservative/Liberal
    Andrew Bonar Law1922 – 1923Conservative
    David Lloyd George1916 – 1922Liberal
    Herbert Asquith1908 – 1916Liberal
    Henry Campbell-Bannerman1905 – 1908Liberal
    Arthur Balfour1902 – 1905Conservative
    Marquess of Salisbury1895 – 1902Conservative
    Earl of Rosebery1894 – 1895Liberal
    William Ewart Gladstone1892 – 1894Liberal
    Marquess of Salisbury1886 – 1892Conservative
    William Ewart Gladstone1886 – 1886Liberal
    Marquess of Salisbury1885 – 1886Conservative
    William Ewart Gladstone1880 – 1885Liberal
    Benjamin Disraeli1874 – 1880Conservative
    William Ewart Gladstone1868 – 1874Liberal
    Benjamin Disraeli1868 – 1868Conservative
    Earl of Derby1866 – 1868Conservative
    Lord John Russell1865 – 1866Whig
    Viscount Palmerston1859 – 1865Whig
    Earl of Aberdeen1858 – 1859
    Viscount Palmerston1855 – 1858Whig
    Earl of Aberdeen1852 – 1855Conservative
    The Earl of Derby1852Conservative
    Lord John Russell1846 – 1852Whig
    Sir Robert Peel1841 – 1846Conservative
    Viscount Melbourne1835 – 1841Whig
    Sir Robert Peel1834 – 1835Conservative
    Duke of Wellington1834Tory
    Viscount Melbourne1834Whig
    Earl Grey1830 – 1834Whig
    Duke of Wellington1828 – 1830Tory
    Viscount Goderich1827 – 1828Tory
    George Canning1827 – 1827Tory
    Earl of Liverpool1812 – 1827Tory
    Spencer Perceval1809 – 1812Tory
    Duke of Portland1807 – 1809Whig
    William Grenville1806 – 1807Whig
    William Pitt the Younger1804 – 1806Tory
    Henry Addington1801 – 1804Tory
    William Pitt the Younger1783 – 1801Tory
    Duke of Portland1783Whig
    Earl of Shelburne1782 – 1783Whig
    Marquess of Rockingham1782Whig
    Lord North1770 – 1782Tory
    Duke of Grafton1768 – 1770Whig
    William Pitt the Elder1766 – 1768Whig
    Marquess of Rockingham1765 – 1766Whig
    George Grenville1763 – 1765Whig
    Earl of Bute1762 – 1763Tory
    Duke of Newcastle1757 – 1762Whig
    Duke of Devonshire1756 – 1757Whig
    Duke of Newcastle1754 – 1756Whig
    Henry Pelham1743 – 1754Whig
    Spencer Compton1742 – 1743Whig
    Robert Walpole1730 – 1742Whig

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