The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. It does not have a ‘written constitution’ set out in any one document. Instead, the relationship between the State and the people relies on statute law, common law and conventions. Many of these laws, conventions, and rules on the operation of government and described in the Cabinet Manual. The Head of State is Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II. The UK Parliament is at Westminster and consists of the House of Commons and House of Lords. The Government headed by the Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament.
The areas of work of the British-Irish Council are largely devolved issues within the United Kingdom, such as Transport and Housing, hence the role of the devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the Council. Where issues are devolved, UK Government departments have responsibility for policy only in England and represent it in the work of the Council.
In addition to responsibility for domestic policy matters in England, the British Government retains a wide range of responsibilities across all parts of the United Kingdom, including defence & national security, immigration, foreign affairs, monetary policy, constitutional policy, and broadcasting.