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Does Britain have prime ministerial government?

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Javeria Masud 12 O Does Britain Have Prime Ministerial Government? There has been a debate in the British political system about whether Britain has a Prime Ministerial or Cabinet government since the early 1960s. This was mainly because of two events that occurred in 1962. Firstly, the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan dismissed one third of his Cabinet which resulted in the unpopularity of the government. Secondly, Richard Crossman suggested that the term Prime Ministerial government was more appropriate than the term Cabinet government. The Macmillan incident suggested that the Prime Minister had strong powers that he could use to appoint, dismiss and control his colleagues in the Cabinet. There are several reasons due to which this debate is once again emerged as an important theme. ...read more.


Thirdly, the media presentation which is an important part is now controlled by the government. Also, more programmes can be seen on television regarding the current political affairs which puts the Prime Minister and other politicians into the limelight. Therefore, people now have a greater knowledge of political issues than before. Also, there has been a growth in policy support for the Prime Minister in recent years. Policy-making is an important factor that takes up a lot of time and needs support. Policy concerning the state of the economy and Britain's place in the world are areas in which all Prime Ministers are involved. However, to carry out their policies they need the support from their Cabinet and the electorate. For example, Blair's Cabinet and the electorate have been divided over the issue of Iraq and unless he has the support of his Cabinet and the electorate he cannot carry out his policies regarding the issue. ...read more.


Similarly, a Prime Minister who does not have the support from the backbenchers would not be able to succeed. Thus, we can say that although the Prime Minister seems to be quite dominant, they still have to consult the ministers and the Cabinet for the final decision. Hence, the Cabinet is still quite important and powerful and overall it is usually the Cabinet and not the Prime Minister who makes the final decision. Overall, I can say that in the recent years especially since the 1997 general election, the argument about the Prime Ministerial government has surfaced once again because of a huge growth in the importance of the Prime Minister's office and the Cabinet office as sources of advice to the Prime Minister. Also, the personal authority of the Prime Minister has increased, as he has become an important spokesperson to the government. ...read more.

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