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There has not been a government of England since 1707 when the Kingdom of England ceased to exist as a sovereign state, as it merged with the Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.[1] The Kingdom of Great Britain continued from 1707 until 1801 when it merged with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which itself became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) in 1922 (in reality; in name in 1927) upon independence for most of the island of Ireland.

The UK since then has gone through significant change to its system of government, with devolved parliaments, assemblies and governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. England, however, remains under the full jurisdiction, on all matters, of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the UK government as no devolved administration has been created for England within the new structure.

This situation led to the anomaly, known as the West Lothian question, which is that Scottish Members of Parliament (MPs) have been able to vote on legislation that affects only England whereas English MPs have been unable to vote on certain Scottish matters due to devolution. In some cases, such as top-up university tuition fees and foundation hospitals, the votes of Scottish MPs have been crucial in helping pass legislation for England that the majority of English MPs have opposed.[citation needed] An attempt was made to address this anomaly in 2015 through the use of an English votes for English laws procedure which aims to ensure that legislation affecting only England requires a majority vote of MPs representing English constituencies.

Another possible solution to the West Lothian question would have been devolution to the English regions but attempts have been unsuccessful so far. Amongst the parts of England, Greater London has a degree of devolved power (although weaker than that of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) with power vested in an elected Mayor of London, currently Sadiq Khan and the London Assembly.

The country is therefore officially divided into the following in terms of governance:

The incumbent government has no plans to create a devolved English parliament.

Combined Authorities

Main article: Combined authority

As of March 2022 there are 11 Combined Authorities each with varying powers. There are proposals for more to be established in the future.[2] Former prime minister David Cameron had proposed that combined authority mayors sit within an "English Cabinet of Mayors" giving them the opportunity to share ideas and represent their regions at national level. The cabinet of mayors would be chaired by the prime minister and would meet at least twice a year.[3][4] In 2022, Labour also proposed a similar body to be known as the "Council of England", chaired by the prime minister, to bring together combined authority mayors, representatives of local government and other stakeholders.[5]The 2024 Labour manifesto includes plans for a "Council of the Nations and Regions" which would include the Prime Minister, the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales, the First and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and the Mayors of Combined Authorities in England.[6]

'England-only' government departments of the UK government

Several government departments of the UK government have responsibilities for matters affecting England alone:

Other departments deal mainly with matters affecting England though they also have some UK-wide responsibilities in certain areas;

Historical governments of England


  1. ^ Welcome, accessed 5 March
  2. ^ (1) Henderson (2) Paun, (1) Duncan (2) Akash (March 6, 2023). "English Devolution". Institute for Government.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^
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Further reading

See also