The Constitution of the United Kingdom
Part 1: The United Kingdom and Its Nationals
Article 1 – The United Kingdom comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland shall in no circumstances cease to be a part of the United Kingdom without the consent of a majority of registered voters in Northern Ireland voting in a poll
Article 2 – Nationality of the United Kingdom
The following are nationals of the United Kingdom.
a. British citizens, except for British citizens from the Channel Islands and the
Isle of Man.
b. British subjects with the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
c. British overseas territories citizens.
Article 3 – British Citizenship.
a. British citizenship is acquired by birth, adoption, descent, registration or
naturalization, or is conferred by statute.
b. A minister may by order deprive a person of British citizenship acquired as a
result of registration or naturalization on the ground that it was obtained by
fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact. But no such
person may be deprived of British citizenship unless a minister is satisfied
that it is not conducive to the public good that that person should continue to
be a British citizen.
Part 2: The Head of State
Article 4 – The Sovereign
(1) The head of state is the Sovereign who is the descendant of Sophia Electress
of Hanover next in line to the throne, as provided by the Act of Settlement,
1700, extended to Scotland in 1707 and Northern Ireland in 1801 by Acts of
(2) The Sovereign is the head of the executive and the fount of justice.
(3) The Sovereign is commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
(4) The Sovereign presides at meetings of the Privy Council whose members are
appointed by the Sovereign on advice. Only British citizens and citizens of the
Republic of Ireland may be members of the Privy Council. Members of the
Privy Council are appointed for life but a Privy Counsellor may be removed
on advice or at his or her request. Privy Counsellors are required to take an
oath as laid down by statute. The Privy Council exercises advisory functions
and functions entrusted to it by statute. Three Privy Counsellors constitute a
quorum. The full Privy Council is summoned only for a coronation. Ministers
are responsible to Parliament for decisions taken by the Privy Council.
(5) The Sovereign is in communion with, and Supreme Governor of, the Church
of England, by law established.
(6) Any alteration in the succession to the throne requires the consent of the
Parliaments of the Commonwealth Realms as well as the Parliament of the
(7) The Sovereign acts on the advice of ministers, except when appointing a
Prime Minister, considering a request to dissolve Parliament, making a public
statement in virtue of the office of Head of the Commonwealth or conferring
honours, awards, decorations and distinctions that are within the personal gift
of the Sovereign. The Sovereign assents to legislation, unless advised to the
contrary by ministers.
(8) The acts of the Sovereign as head of state are not reviewable by the courts.
The Sovereign is immune from suit and legal process in any civil cause in
respect of acts and omissions in the Sovereign’s private capacity. The
Sovereign is immune from criminal proceedings in respect of acts and
omissions in the Sovereign’s private or official capacity.
(9) An annual sum shall be voted by Parliament for expenditure incurred by the Sovereign, the Royal Household and by other members of the Royal Family.
(10) All persons in the service of the Crown are required to swear or affirm allegiance to the Sovereign and his or her heirs according to law.
(11) The Sovereign has the right to be informed upon all matters of State.
(12) Statutory provision is made for the appointment of a Regent in case of the minority or incapacity of the Sovereign.
Part 3: The Legislative Power
Article 5 – Parliament
(1) Legislative power in the United Kingdom is vested in Parliament.
(2) Parliament consists of the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of
Article 6 – The House of Commons
(1) Members of the House of Commons are directly elected in free, equal and
secret elections by universal suffrage. Constituencies are regularly reviewed
by Boundary Commissions, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons. The revision of constituency boundaries requires parliamentary approval before it can be given statutory effect.
(2) All Commonwealth citizens and citizens of the Republic of Ireland over the
qualifying age, not detained in a penal institution, nor found guilty of a corrupt
or illegal practice, who are registered in a parliamentary constituency on the
qualifying date shall have the right to vote. Peers entitled to sit in the House of
Lords shall not be entitled to vote.
(3) Details of the electoral process are set out in an Act of Parliament.
(4) The following are disqualified from membership of the House of Commons:
b) Those under the qualifying age;
d) Persons convicted of treason;
e) Persons currently detained in a penal institution for
more than one year;
f) Persons convicted of illegal election practices;
g) Holders of various judicial offices;
h) Civil servants;
i) Members of the regular armed forces of the crown;
j) Members of any police force maintained by a police
k) Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
l) Election and boundary commissioners and electoral
m) Members of a foreign legislature outside the
Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland;
n) Holders of various other public offices, as defined by
o) Members of the House of Lords.
(5) An Electoral Commission of the United Kingdom is appointed by the
Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, with the agreement of the
Speaker, and following consultations with the leaders of all parties represented
in the House of Commons. The Commission is responsible for the supervision
of elections and referendums, the registration of political parties, and the
determination of those who are permitted to participate in a referendum or
make donations to political parties.
(6) Political parties wishing to nominate candidates for elections are required to
register with the Electoral Commission and to maintain accounts in
accordance with regulations laid down by the Commission.
(7) The chief officer of the House of Commons is the Speaker who is elected by
the House of Commons at the beginning of each new Parliament or on the
death or retirement of the previous office-holder. The Speaker does not belong
to any political party and votes only in the case of a tie when the Speaker votes
for further discussion where that is possible. The Speaker represents and
presides over the House, enforces the rules which govern its conduct, and
protects the rights and privileges of the house. The Speaker has full authority
to enforce the rules of the House, and powers to regulate the conduct of debate.
In cases of grave and continuous disorder, the Speaker may adjourn or
suspend the sitting. The Speaker may order a Member of Parliament who
breaks the rules of the House to leave the Chamber, initiate a short suspension
or put the matter to a vote.
(8) Members of Parliament are remunerated from public funds, and may claim
various allowances as determined by the House of Commons.
(9) Members of Parliament are required to observe the Code of Conduct. They are
required to register pecuniary interests and various other benefits in a Register
of Interests. The Register is supervised by an independent Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards.
(10) Parties which sit in the House of Commons but do not support the government constitute the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition is the leader of the largest of these parties. The Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons and the Leader in the Opposition in the House of Lords, the Chief Opposition Whip in the House of Commons, the Chief Opposition Whip in the House of Lords, together with not more than two Assistant Whips in the House of Commons are remunerated from public funds.
Article 7– Meeting and Dissolution of Parliament