The UK is a parliamentary democracy. It operates within a constitutional monarchy. The Monarch is the head of State, the Prime Minister is the political leader of the United Kingdom and leades the government. The government is made up of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and headed by the Prime Minister.
The current Prime Minister is Theresa May. She lives and works at 10 Downing Street in London. She is appointed by the Monarch and selects all the other Ministers. She belongs to the supreme decision-making committee, which is known as the Cabinet, together with other senior Ministers.
The House of Commons has 651 Members of Parliament. Each member is voted for elections which are usually held every five years in the UK. The House of Commons meets in the Palace of Westminster. This is the body which has real power: the members debate the country's main problems and pass laws.
Like the House of Commons, the House of Lords also meets in the Palace of Westminster. It is made up of 1185 representatives, hereditary, life peers and peeresses, two archbishops and bishops of the Church of England. It has limited powers.
Several parties are represented in the British Parliament, but the three major ones are:
The Conservative Party, a centre right party;
The Labour Party, a centre left party, traditionally socialist;
The Liberal Democrats, a centre to centre left party.
The British Monarch is currently Queen Elizabeth II. She is officially the head of state and appoints the Prime Ministers, approves legislation and has many other official roles. In practice, however, she never intervenes in political matters. The Monarch is seen by most people as a focus for national identity and unity.