Saturday, 13 August 2022 – 20:42
Downing Street

How UK Government Works & Role of the Prime Minister

The Government is responsible for deciding how the country is run and for managing things on a day to day basis.

The people in the government are responsible for making key decisions, such as what to spend money on, what taxes to charge the public and what services to provide them in return.

This section looks at how different parts of the Government work and why they are important in the running of the country. Click through the tabs below to find out more about the UK Government and Prime Minister.


{tab Structure of the Government}

The Government in the UK is technically known as Her Majesty’s Government, running the country on behalf of the monarch. The party winning the most seats in the House of Commons at a General Election will usually be invited by the Queen to form a Government. The role of the monarch is a largely ceremonial one and their power has reduced over time.

The Prime Minister is the leader of the Government and is ultimately responsible for all policy and decisions that it makes. 

The Cabinet is a group of senior members of the government (known as Cabinet ministers) which meets to discuss the most important issues for the government. Ministers are chosen by the Prime Minister from members of Parliament and are responsible for the actions of different departments 

There are 24 ministerial departments. These departments are led by government ministers and are served by civil servants. For example, the Department for Education is responsible for children’s services and education.

There are also 20 non-ministerial departments and over 400 agencies and other public bodies that work with the government, from the Broads Authority to the Bank of England.


{tab The Role of the Prime Minister}

The Prime Minister (PM) is the head of the UK Government and is officially appointed by the Queen. The PM is ultimately responsible for the policy and decisions made by the Government.

The PM appoints cabinet ministers and members of the Government, represents the country and decides the direction of the Government.

The current Prime Minister is Boris Johnson. Mr Johnson was elected as leader of the Conservative Party in July 2019, after Theresa May stood down. In the most recent General Election in December 2019, the Conservatives won a large majority in the House of Commons, meaning that Mr Johnson remained Prime Minister.


Photo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons.


{tab The Current UK Government}

Watch the video below to find out about some of the key members of the current UK Government.


{module Current UK Government Video}


{tab Timeline of UK Prime Ministers}

Below, we’ve listed each UK Prime Minister since 1902, along with the party they represented. Some people are listed more than once, as they have been Prime Minister during more than one period of time.

{module Timeline of UK Prime Ministers}




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