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    United Kingdom Government - 1989

      Long-form name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; abbreviated UK

      Type: constitutional monarchy

      Capital: London

      Administrative divisions: 47 counties, 7 metropolitan counties, 26 districts, 9 regions, and 3 islands areas @m5England--39 counties, 7 metropolitan counties*; Avon, Bedford, Berkshire, Buckingham, Cambridge, Cheshire, Cleveland, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derby, Devon, Dorset, Durham, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucester, Greater London*, Greater Manchester*, Hampshire, Hereford and Worcester, Hertford, Humberside, Isle of Wight, Kent, Lancashire, Leicester, Lincoln, Merseyside*, Norfolk, Northampton, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Nottingham, Oxford, Shropshire, Somerset, South Yorkshire*, Stafford, Suffolk, Surrey, Tyne and Wear*, Warwick, West Midlands*, West Sussex, West Yorkshire*, Wiltshire @m5Northern Ireland--26 districts; Antrim, Ards, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Coleraine, Cookstown, Craigavon, Down, Dungannon, Fermanagh, Larne, Limavady, Lisburn, Londonderry, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newry and Mourne, Newtownabbey, North Down, Omagh, Strabane @m5Scotland--9 regions, 3 islands areas*; Borders, Central, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Grampian, Highland, Lothian, Orkney*, Shetland*, Strathclyde, Tayside, Western Isles* @m5Wales--8 counties; Clwyd, Dyfed, Gwent, Gwynedd, Mid Glamorgan, Powys, South Glamorgan, West Glamorgan

      Independence: 1 January 1801, United Kingdom established

      Constitution: unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice

      Dependent areas: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hong Kong (scheduled to become a Special Administrative Region of China in 1997), Jersey, Isle of Man, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St. Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands

      Legal system: common law tradition with early Roman and modern continental influences; no judicial review of Acts of Parliament; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

      National holiday: Celebration of the Birthday of the Queen (second Saturday in June), 10 June 1989

      Branches: legislative authority resides in Parliament (House of Lords, House of Commons); executive authority lies with collectively responsible Cabinet led by prime minister; House of Lords is supreme judicial authority and highest court of appeal

      Leaders: ELIZABETH II, Queen (since 1952); Margaret THATCHER, Prime Minister (since 1979); Deputy Prime Minister Geoffrey HOWE (since 24 July 1989)

      Suffrage: universal over age 18

      Elections: at discretion of prime minister but must be held before expiration of a five-year electoral mandate; last election held 11 June 1987

      Political parties and leaders: Conservative, Margaret Thatcher; Labour, Neil Kinnock; Social Democratic, David Owen; Social and Liberal Democratic Party, Jeremy (Paddy) Ashdown; Communist, Gordon McLennan; Scottish National, Gordon Wilson; Plaid Cymru, Dafydd Thomas; Ulster Unionist, James Molyneaux; Democratic Unionist, Ian Paisley; Social Democratic and Labour, John Hume; Provisional Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams; Alliance/Northern Ireland

      Voting strength: (11 June 1987 election) House of Commons (650 total seats)--Conservative, 376 seats (43%); Labour, 229 seats (32%); Social and Liberal Democratic Party, 18 seats (23%); Social Democratic Party, 4 seats; Scottish National Party, 3 seats; Plaid Cymru (Welsh Nationalist), 3 seats; Ulster (Official) Unionist (Northern Ireland), 9 seats; Ulster Democratic Unionist (Northern Ireland), 3 seats; Ulster Popular Unionist (Northern Ireland), 1 seat; Social Democratic and Labour (Northern Ireland), 3 seats; Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland), 1 seat

      Communists: 15,961

      Other political or pressure groups: Trades Union Congress, Confederation of British Industry, National Farmers' Union, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

      Member of: ADB, CCC, CENTO, Colombo Plan, Council of Europe, DAC, EC, ESCAP, ESA, FAO, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, ICES, ICO, IDA, IDB--Inter-American Development Bank, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, ILZSG, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IOOC, IPU, IRC, ISO, ITC, ITU, IWC--International Whaling Commission, IWC--International Wheat Council, NATO, OECD, UN, UPU, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG

      Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Sir Antony ACLAND; Chancery at 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 462-1340; there are British Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, and Consulates in Dallas, Miami, and Seattle; US--Ambassador Charles H. PRICE, II; Embassy at 24/31 Grosvenor Square, London, W.1A1AE, (mailing address is Box 40, FPO New York 09509); telephone �44� (01) 499-9000; there are US Consulates General in Belfast and Edinburgh

      Flag: blue with the red cross of St. George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of St. Patrick (patron saint of Ireland) which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of St. Andrew (patron saint of Scotland); known as the Union Flag or Union Jack; the design and colors (especially the Blue Ensign) have been the basis for a number of other flags including dependencies, Commonwealth countries, and others

      NOTE: The information regarding United Kingdom on this page is re-published from the 1989 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of United Kingdom Government 1989 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about United Kingdom Government 1989 should be addressed to the CIA.

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