Government of the United Kingdom, formally and commonly referred to as Her Majesty's Government

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Main entrance of 

10 Downing Street

, the residence

and offices of the First Lord of HM Treasury

Devolved governments

accountable governments in Scotland,

Wales and Northern Ireland. These are

not part of Her Majesty's Government,

and are directly accountable to their own

institutions, with their own authority

under the Crown; in contrast, there is no

devolved government in England.

Local government

Refurbishment notice at Old Fire Station



showing HM Government support.

Up to three layers of elected local

authorities (such as county, district and

parish Councils) exist throughout all

parts of the United Kingdom, in some

places merged into unitary authorities.

They have limited local tax-raising

powers. Many other authorities and

agencies also have statutory powers,

generally subject to some central

government supervision.

The government's powers include

general executive and statutory powers,

delegated legislation, and numerous

powers of appointment and patronage.

Limits of government power

However, some powerful officials and

bodies, (e.g. HM judges, local authorities,

and the charity commissions) are legally

more or less independent of the

government, and government powers are

legally limited to those retained by the

Crown under common law or granted and

limited by act of Parliament, and are

subject to European Union law and the

competencies that it defines. Both

substantive and procedural limitations

are enforceable in the courts by judicial


Nevertheless, magistrates and mayors

can still be arrested for and put on trial

for corruption, and the government has

powers to insert commissioners into a

local authority to oversee its work, and to

issue directives that must be obeyed by

the local authority, if the local authority is

not abiding by its statutory



By contrast, as in European Union (EU)

member states, EU officials cannot be

prosecuted for any actions carried out in

pursuit of their official duties, and foreign

country diplomats (though not their

employees) and foreign members of the

European Parliament


 are immune

from prosecution in the UK under any

circumstance. As a consequence, neither

EU bodies nor diplomats have to pay

taxes, since it would not be possible to

prosecute them for tax evasion. This

caused a dispute in recent years when

the US ambassador to the UK claimed

that London's congestion charge was a

tax, and not a charge (despite the name),

and therefore he did not have to pay it –

a claim the Greater London Authority


Similarly, the monarch is totally immune

from criminal prosecution and may only

be sued with her permission (this is

known as sovereign immunity). The

monarch, by law, is not required to pay

income tax, but Queen Elizabeth II has

voluntarily paid it since 1993, and also

pays local rates voluntarily. However, the

monarchy also receives a substantial

grant from the government, the

Sovereign Support Grant, and Queen

Elizabeth II's inheritance from her mother,

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, was

exempt from inheritance tax.

In addition to legislative powers, HM

Government has substantial influence

over local authorities and other bodies

set up by it, by financial powers and

grants. Many functions carried out by

local authorities, such as paying out

housing benefit and council tax benefit,

are funded or substantially part-funded

by central government.

Neither the central government nor local

authorities are permitted to sue anyone

for defamation. Individual politicians are

allowed to sue people for defamation in a

personal capacity and without using

government funds, but this is relatively

rare (although George Galloway, who was

a backbench MP for a quarter of a

century, has sued or threatened to sue

for defamation a number of times).

However, it is a criminal offence to make

a false statement about any election

candidate during an election, with the

purpose of reducing the number of votes

they receive (as with libel, opinions do

not count).

Departments of the United Kingdom


Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

Government spending in the United


British Government Frontbench

Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition

List of British governments

Northern Ireland Executive

Scottish Government

Welsh Government

Whole of Government Accounts

See also

Office for Veterans' Affairs

1. Her Majesty's Government  Retrieved

28 June 2010

2. Overview of the UK system of

government : Directgov –

Government, citizens and rights .

Archived webpage.

Retrieved on 29 August 2014.

3. "Legislation" . UK Parliament. 2013.

Retrieved 27 January 2013.

4. House of Commons – Justice

Committee – Written Evidence . Retrieved

on 19 October 2010.


5. The monarchy : Directgov –

Government, citizens and rights .

Archived webpage.

Retrieved on 29 August 2014.

6. The Parliament Acts – UK

Parliament . (21 April

2010). Retrieved on 12 October 2011.

7. "Queen and Prime Minister" . The

British Monarchy. 2013. Archived

from the original  on 14 April 2010.

Retrieved 27 January 2013.

8. Mystery lifted on Queen's powers |

Politics . The Guardian. Retrieved on

12 October 2011.

9. House of Commons Library




10. Civil Service Statistics  Archived  10

November 2013 at the Wayback


September 2011



Executive Agencies and

NonMinisterial Departments .

Cabinet Office 2009

12. Maer, Lucinda (4 September 2017).

"Ministers in the House of Lords" .

13. Committees – UK Parliament . (21 April 2010).

Retrieved on 12 October 2011.

14. Ministerial Code . Cabinet Office


15. "Speakers' statements on ministerial

policy announcements made outside

the House"  


. Archived from the

original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved

29 November 2010.. Parliamentary

Information List. Department of

Information Services. 16 July 2010

16. "Secretary of State sends in

commissioners to Tower Hamlets" . 17 December 2014. Retrieved

10 April 2015.

17. "The Immunity of Members of the

European Parliament"  



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