What is a Government?


A Government is the group of officials ruling a country or state. In the past the government was a ruling monarch but now in the UK the government is democratically elected every five years by a nationwide general election. The political party that win the most constituency seats in the UK, via the First Past the Post voting system, is elected as the new Government of the UK. The Government MP’s occupy the benches of the right-hand side of Commons chamber and consist of backbench MP’s and frontbenchers who form the Cabinet.

It is the job of the Government to act as the Executive. They make decisions on things such as tax, how the NHS is run and transport, it divides up its powers into ministerial positions who sit in the Cabinet. It suggests bills to be voted upon in the Commons and dictates what gets to be voted on.


Key Terms


Cabinet – The UK Cabinet is the ruling body of the Government, it consists of the Prime Minister and the 21 most senior ministers.

Shadow Cabinet – The frontbench of the opposition. The Shadow Cabinet consists of shadow ministers who oppose their counterpart within the Government’s Cabinet and scrutinise their work.

Opposition – In the chamber of the Commons, any MP who is not a member of the Government sits to the left of the Speaker and forms to governments opposition.

Backbench MP’s – An elected MP that does not hold an official position within their party, such as being a minister.

Frontbench MP’s – MP’s who, due to their position as a minister and/or being a member of the cabinet, sit on the front bench in the House of Commons.

Prime Minister- The Prime Minister as the elected leader of the party that wins the General Election, becomes the leader of the Government.

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