The British Constitution, as of 2 November 2006

By Ricky Gomez,2014-10-25 19:04
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The British Constitution, as of 2 November 2006


    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

    United Kingdom.

    (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:

    a) Aliens;

    b) Those under the qualifying age;

    c) Bankrupts;

    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

    registration officers;

    m) Members of a foreign legislature outside the

    Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland;

    n) Holders of various other public offices, as defined by

    statute, and

    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