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Explain how the Prime Minister can control the Cabinet.

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Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Explain how the Prime Minister can control the Cabinet. [16] While the Prime Minister is certainly the most visible and seemingly powerful member of Government, there is another element to make sure they don't have to govern alone. This is the Cabinet, a collection of up to 23 Ministers chosen by the Prime Minister. Although supposedly only ?Primus inter pares?, the Prime Minister enjoys a variety of powers that allow him or her to control cabinet. Writers such as Richard Crossman in the 1960s and Tony Benn in the 1980s (both former labour ministers) spoke of the increasing dominance of the Prime Minister within cabinet. They argued this was because of the centralisation of party machines and the civil service in the hands of the Prime Minister. Since then the media has further increased their attention on the Prime Minister. ...read more.


Cabinet reshuffles happen for a variety of reasons. Periodically, smaller reshuffles are needed to replace ministers who have resigned, retired or died. Reshuffles are also a way for a premier to "refresh" the government, often in the face of poor polling numbers; remove poor performers; and reward supporters and punish others. It is common after elections, even if the party in power is retained, as the prime minister's reading of public opinion as evidenced by the election may require some change in policy, in addition to any changes resulting from the retirement or defeat of individuals ministers at the election. David Cameron reshuffled in 2014, and William Hague, who was foreign secretary, was promoted to leader of the House of Commons. The Prime Minister also has control over the cabinet agenda and minutes. The Prime Minister chairs the regular Cabinet meetings and sets the agenda for those meetings. ...read more.


The majority of decisions taken by the Cabinet are, in effect, taken by cabinet committees. Finally, the Prime Minister has the ability to by-pass cabinet through ?pre-cooking? policy. Prime Ministers have tended, in recent years, to have an 'inner' Cabinet of very close colleagues. On major issues, this group will often have decided the outcome of a Cabinet meeting before it begins. Blair is an example of a Prime Minister who had a lot of power due to a large majority. His Cabinets were reduced in time to 1 hour and he dominated the agenda. He would often make decisions in smaller cabinet committees. This was known as ?sofa Government.? He embarked on his own policy agenda with regards to issues such as Iraq and Northern Ireland. To conclude, the Prime Minister exercises considerable amounts of power over the cabinet. However, the Prime Minister must be careful not exercise too much control in this way as it is important that he retain the loyalty of his Cabinet for the stability of the party. ...read more.

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