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

Is the British prime minister now effectively a president?

Extracts from this document...


Is the British prime minister now effectively a president? One of the reason that prime minister has become more president the cabinet and key government departments have seen their role taken over by the prime minister and a small group of downing Street officials and advisers. Thus the machinery of the central government has become increasingly similar to the White House machinery. Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador in Washington DC, has claimed that Jack Straw and the Foreign Office were sidelined as most communication was directly between Downing Street and the Washington embassy. Although the Prime Minister is not officially the head of state, he or she increasingly assumes the stature of a presidential-style head of the state. ...read more.


This suggests that these leaders deliberately make themselves into outsiders within government. They separate themselves from its other members and so are able to act independently, but also to remain part of government itself. It has been noticed that as the role has become more dominant, there has been a tendency for the office holder to see him/herself as separate from government. Thatcher and Reagan took this a step further. They even criticised governments of which they were the head, suggesting that they tended to be inefficient, wasteful and simply, tried to too much. On taking office in 1981, Reagan expressed the issue this: Government is not the solution to out problems. Government is the problem.' There many counter arguments to the presidential thesis. ...read more.


Prime ministers now seem to be more presidential largely as a result of media attention and the importance of foreign policy. Whilst it might be possible to argue that Thatcher and Blair in some ways project a presidential image, it would be difficult to argue the same about major. A third analysis has been offered in the past by Professor George Jones. This is the 'elastic' theory. It suggest that as a prime minister tries to stretch the powers of the office further and further, the forces of constraint become increasingly strong. This analysis fits well with the experience of the Margaret Thatcher, who gained increasing numbers of enemies as she sought to exercise more and more control. Eventually the enemies turned on her when they felt they had enough strength to remove her. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Leadership styles

    3 star(s)

    This encourages a sense of responsibility in team members who feel that they have a vested interest in the success of the project or operation. It allows a leader to draw upon the expertise and experience of a team in order to achieve the best results for all and it

  2. Comparison of the US President and British Prime Minister.

    In Britain, the example of the Conservative rebellions over Europe throughout the life of the Major government which served to decrease the government majority and eventually render it non-existent, showed how party support could be lost and extremely weaken a Prime Minister's power.

  1. The comparison of the US President and the British Prime Minister appears from the ...

    is of great significance in determining which office holds the most power as a whole. The British Parliament, according to McNaughton, may be sovereign but when considered thoroughly, this is only a theory. "In effect, the sovereignty of Parliament becomes the sovereignty of the Government" (McNaughton).

  2. The relationship between the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    2b) The most important powers of the Prime Minister are the Royal Prerogative and the Power of Patronage. Currently, the two main features elevating the importance of the prerogative are the ability to declare war and the dissolution of Parliament. The current Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has exercised these rights in the past two years.

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

    Concerns over important areas of policy effectively meant the downfall of Thatcher and Callaghan, (Coxall, Robins &Leach 2003 187-192). The support of the party gives the prime minister the right and influence to carry out their duties, relationships within the party are paramount and are two way.

  2. How and why has the role of the prime minister changed over the post-1945 ...

    elects the leader. So for a Labour leader "(since his election depends mainly on the views of trade union leaders and constituency activists) the issue of his capacity as a parliamentary performer scarcely arises" (King, 1991, p28). This is clearly demonstrated by Blair who is the only prime minister since 1945 not to have been a cabinet minister.

  1. rights and their limitations

    it is a welcomed limit so as to prevent these peaceful protests and assemblies from escalating into violence and governments are right to impose these limits. The advances and development of nuclear technology over the past century has led to some countries gaining the capabilities of producing nuclear weapons through the spreading of technical knowledge and materials.

  2. Is the UK Prime Minister now effectively a president?

    over whether the North Sea Oil will belong to Scotland, if they are to become independent after the 2014 Referendum. Blair also showed this characteristic by initiating the 'Good Friday Agreement' with Northern Ireland and the ROI. Foreign affairs have become more important and have been dominated by the prime minister.

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