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How Dominant Is the Prime Minister within the British system of Government?

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Introduction

How Dominant Is the Prime Minister within the British system of Government? The main theme of this essay concerns the Prime Minister and Cabinet, how dominant the role of Prime Minister is, also the extent of their power. To begin with, this essay will explain what the core executive consists of, what the position of the Prime Minister has come to stand for, in addition the responsibilities of that particular role. In the second place, this essay will look at the part Prime Minister's have played in the Civil Service and the changes, which have taken place in this area over the decades. The next point will describe and compare the leadership styles of some of the Prime Ministers in the twentieth century to the present Leader Tony Blair. The next area this essay will cover are the decisions Prime Ministers have made historically in shaping policy, their additional powers, also how this has led sometimes to their ultimate downfall. Their unique responsibilities will also be illustrated. The next area of this essay will explain the cabinet support, why this is essential for the Prime Minister, interpersonal relationships within cabinet, and the reasons why the PM is most popular after an election victory, then, describing observer's viewpoints of Tony Blair being more presidential and comparing this with past prime ministers. ...read more.

Middle

Thatcher is renowned to having a dominant style in which she had a direct approach, whilst political writer Martin J Smith described her style as being autocratic. Wilson, in contrast even though a good communicator, was normally keen to get popular agreement within the party, to impose his personality on a particular area of policy. Generally, the prime minister consults with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and treasury before economic, foreign policy initiatives are made, however the ultimate decisions are made by the PM who is vital in determining policy. Over the past forty years in the UK, prime ministers had to play an important part in various initiatives such as, industrial trade unions and issues in Northern Ireland. PM's on the other hand might delve into areas that they passionately believe in, which might sometimes risk upsetting other ministers. James Callaghan the PM during the late seventies intervened in educational and health matters, while Margaret Thatcher bought in the poll tax, Tony Blair on his thinking put into operation the millennium dome, had a keen interest in law and order and supported President Bush in the Iraq war. ...read more.

Conclusion

Even though Tony Blair's style is more of a superior figure, who makes executive decisions which he feels is best for the country regardless of what the majority of cabinet might think. Prime Ministers are clearly in a powerful position of authority; however, ministers are also in a strong position of the heads of departments, as these departments play an integral role in central government. Various observers have described the present Prime Minister leadership as being presidential. If Blair is viewed as more presidential than some of the past Prime Ministers like Major, or Douglas-Home, maybe the contrast is not as significant when compared to leaders in the vein of Lloyd George, Churchill and Thatcher. Generally, Prime Ministers are in a strong confident position when things are going well, more presidential in periods of war, (Coxall, Robins and Leach,2003:200). The final analysis On the Prime Minister is that they have around them ministers who have needs of looking after what is best for their department and themselves. The quest of self-interest can weaken the combined ambitions of government and the role of the PM; the task of the prime minister therefore is to act as an entrepreneur who gives support and benefits to ministers in return for their support, which is important. ...read more.

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