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Discuss the view that the cabinet is of little importance in the British system of government.

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Discuss the view that the cabinet is of little importance in the British system of government. Traditional theory dictates that the Cabinet is the dominant decision-making body within the Core Executive, where Ministers convene to co-ordinate the policy making of individual departments and thus the overall work of the Government. All of the senior ministers are chosen by the Prime Minister and they are all collectively delegated the power to direct the Government. Within the cabinet, all members have equal status - apart from the PM who has the recognised position of first amongst equals, although certain positions such as Minister for Health, have become dominate in the post war era. Recently, however, the collective power held by the Cabinet has weakened somewhat, especially under Thatcher and more recently Blair, though this has largely depended on the leadership style preferred by the PM in office. There are several predominant roles of the Cabinet which include: devising major policy (although this is often stated in the manifesto before election); addressing unforeseen major problems (such as the H1N1 'swine flu' outbreak which took place during the Brown government of 2009); harmonising the actions of several different Ministerial departments. ...read more.


It was here that the Prime Minister was able to hear all the arguments that were likely yo be made in cabinet from a single person and not have to deal with the back and forth of debate that would take place. It also allows for the Prime Minister to keep issues away from the cabinet as a whole so that their view is not challenged and they can take the policy direction that they want. Under Cameron, the cabinet has had a revival in importance. This is because of the fact that there is a coalition government in place and there needs to be a greater sense of agreement as Ministers are more likely to speak out if they feel that they can gain something for their party's side of the coalition. This was shown when Theresa May spoke out against the human rights act when it meant that a man could not be deport in part because of the fact that he had a cat. ...read more.


One function of the cabinet that still is important is the settlement of disagreements between different ministers over their departments, mostly due to finances. It allowed all the views to be aired in an environment where they can be assessed by equals, and due to Collective Ministerial Responsibility, for them not to be spread. However, it would be impossible for all such disagreements to be settled at the cabinet level, purely due to the time constraints that are placed on Ministers, and so it s likely that the Prime Minister will deal with many of these issues own their own in tri lateral meetings with the relevant department ministers. Overall, the role of the cabinet has changed to fit in with the new style of government that is taking hold within the UK, with a focus on the Prime Minister. As such the cabinet role has had to change to fit in with this, but to say that it is of little importance is to belittle it too much. In the current government especially, it provides an important place for both parties to come together and find policy that can be agreed on both sides of the coalition ...read more.

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