Instituted in the crisis year of 1931, the National Government has ruled Great Britain, her Commonwealth and the British Empire since that date.

The First (1931), Second (1931-1935) and Third (1935-1937) National Cabinets were made up of Conservatives (and Unionists), Liberals, Liberal Nationals and National Labour. The Fourth National Cabinet (1937-1939) also included individuals of no party. The Fifth National or War Cabinet (1939-1940) was more or less the same. The Sixth National Cabinet (1940-1941) included members of the mainstream Labour Party. These Labour Party members left the Seventh National Cabinet (1941-1945), and were prohibited from participating in the Eighth (1945-1951), replaced by members of the BUF.

The subequent National Cabinets have remained broadly unchanged, with a mixture of Conservatives, Liberals, Liberal Nationals, National Labour and BUF, as well as technocrats of no party and members of small Fascist or National Socialist factions (such as the National Socialist League of William Joyce). The BUF has however increasingly dominated.