Her Majesty's Government

Her Majesty's Government

Her Majesty's Government, or when the monarch is male, His Majesty's Government, is the title used by the Government of the United Kingdom, based at 10 Downing Street; and formerly also by the governments of other Commonwealth realms.

According to UK constitutional law, executive authority is vested in the monarch and exercised through the ministers. In effect, the government is an executive authority consisting of the monarch's ministers. In Commonwealth usage, the term "government" does not relate to parliament or the courts, but only to the executive branch.

In international contexts, where it is necessary to avoid confusion with the governments of other Commonwealth realms, the terms Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom or Her Britannic Majesty's Government are used.

History of the term

In the British Empire, the term "His Majesty's Government" was originally only used by the Imperial Government in London. With the development of the Commonwealth, the self-governing Dominions came to be seen as realms of the Sovereign equal in status to the United Kingdom, and from the 1920s and 1930s the form "His Majesty's Government in …" began to be used by United Kingdom and Dominion governments. Colonial, state and provincial governments, on the other hand, continued to use the lesser title "Government of …". There was also His Majesty's Government in the Irish Free State.

Today, however, most Commonwealth realm governments have now reverted to the form "Government of …", and it is today mainly in the United Kingdom that the titles "Her Majesty's Government", "Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom" or "Her Britannic Majesty's Government," the last in dealings with foreign states and on British passports, can be found in official use. Although very uncommon today in other Commonwealth Realms, this usage is not incorrect; in a 1989 Canadian Supreme Court decision, one of the Justices referred to "Her Majesty's Government for the Province of Nova Scotia". [cite court|url=http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/1989/1989rcs2-796/1989rcs2-796.html|litigants=Mackeigan v. Hickman|vol=2|reporter=S.C.R.|opinion=796|court=SCC|date=1989-10-05]


The abbreviation HMG is often used by members of the government and their advisers as a convenient short label to describe members of the Cabinet and the senior civil servants or mandarins in departments of the United Kingdom Government. The term comes from the formal constitutional position that ministers govern the state by advising the Crown through the Privy Council.

Individual governments (also known historically as ministries) may also be identified by reference to the Prime Minister who leads them (e.g. the Attlee government, or Gladstone's second ministry).

See also

* Politics of the United Kingdom
* Cabinet of the United Kingdom
* Departments of the United Kingdom Government
* Directgov
* Her Majesty's Government Communication Centre
* Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council
* Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition
* State Opening of Parliament
* Northern Ireland Executive
* Scottish Government
* Welsh Assembly Government
* Comparison of United States and British governments


External links

* [http://www.number-10.gov.uk/ Official website] of 10 Downing Street
* [http://www.direct.gov.uk/ Directgov] , the UK government public services website, produced by the Central Office of Information
** [http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/UKgovernment/index.htm DirectGov - Guide To Government]
* [http://www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/hmg.cfm Her Majesty's Government] , a directory compiled by the House of Commons Information Office

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