• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain how the Prime Minister can control the Cabinet.

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United Kingdom section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United Kingdom essays

  1. Arguments that the British Prime Minister is an elective dictator are arrant nonsense. The ...

    However, there will be overlap between the branches to a certain extent. The doctrine also envisages a system of checks and balances. For example, "the judiciary having the power to declare both legislative and executive actions unlawful"19. The separation of powers has no relevance to the British constitution and with

  2. The relationship between the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    Clearly, due to this it is necessary for him to also determine agenda, and run the meetings, summing up the 'mood' of the meeting at the end. Evidently, he is also the key link between the executive and the legislative, and indeed the executive and the outside world.

  1. Prime Minister & the Cabinet

    However this principle is not quite clear in the British system because the Prime Minister is the head of the executive as well as the head of the majority party in the House of Commons (legislature). It could be suggested that the reason why the position of the PM as

  2. priministers power

    if he does well, if his methods and policies are acclaimed, they also share in the benefits. But if a Prime Minister is encountering difficulties and if the government's policies are bringing unpopularity and press criticism, while some M.P.'s may grumble, the normal reaction is to support their leader.

  1. "To what extent have west European prime ministers full control of their cabinets? Discuss ...

    The Cabinet is appointed by the prime ministers and forms an adversarial decision making unit. It may be a centre of acute conflicts in the privacy of the cabinet room but it must present a united front in public."6Cabinets in Europe are represented by the executive- it made up the

  2. Explain what limits there are to the Prime Ministers control over the Cabinet.

    Even Blair?s Cabinet has included ministers whose ?old? Labour views are well attested, such as Prescott, and Beckett. PMs also have to consider the demographics of the cabinet in terms of gender, ethnicity and regionality.

  1. How powerful is the Prime Minister?

    For example, under Blair, cabinet meetings rarely lasted an hour and he cut the total time for them down to 25 minutes once a week. Furthermore, Hennessey comments that Thatcher was also known for adapting the official minutes of cabinet debates to suit her view, she once remarked that the

  2. To what extent can the Prime Minister control the cabinet?

    This allowed the prime minister to have control of the cabinet, as all key decisions could be made with his or her small team of trusted advisors, rather than discussed in the cabinet, and so the cabinet could no longer challenge the prime minister.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work