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Does The Prime Minister Have Presidential Powers?

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Introduction

Does The Prime Minister Have Presidential Powers? Margaret Thatcher was the first Prime Minister who could be said to have had Presidential powers. Her style of government was very controlling, in fact the number, duration and documentation of Cabinet meetings reduced dramatically during her period of leadership. She followed policies that her Cabinet did not agree on, and this resulted in her being ousted after over a decade at the top. It can be argued that Tony Blair is very similar to Thatcher in this manner. It is undoubtable that the power of the Prime Minister has increased at the expense of the Cabinet. This is the result of two main causes: the party machinery has become centralised under the control of the Prime Minister; and secondly, the civil service is now too large to remain under the control of the Cabinet, and it too has become centralised with the Prime Minister ultimately in control. ...read more.

Middle

He/she would therefore appear to be on the side of the average citizen and gain public support. This has been exercised by both John Major, who publicly criticised beaurocratic elements of government, and by Tony Blair, who is continually going on visits in an attempt to become more in touch with the electorate. The cult of the outsider, where politicians appear to be outside of politics and hierarchy, has been used by many American Presidents, and has been favoured by Tony Blair, who used this idea in order to appear as a man of the people. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is him making a guest appearance on 'The Simpsons', which is an attempt to show a fun and appealing side to his personality, and remove himself from the mundane image many people may associate with modern politics. ...read more.

Conclusion

This idea is reinforced by the personal factor of leadership, where the Prime Minister is seen to be the public face of Cabinet and government. It is assumed that the personal qualities of the Prime Minister and other party leaders are central to public evaluations of political leadership and performance. However there are those who tend to disagree with Foley's thesis. There are limits on the degree of power the Prime Minister can have over the initiation of policy and suchlike. The Prime Minister needs the support of his/her colleagues to a degree. Margaret Thatcher managed to seize an enormous amount of power through her style of government, but at the end of the day, as she took little notice of party policy, she lost power due to decreased support from her own government. ...read more.

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