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

Is the UK Prime Minister now effectively a president?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Is the UK Prime Minister now effectively a president? Since 1997 it had been argued that prime ministers have become presidential. However, in recent years, Brown and Cameron, have adopted a different leadership style which moves away from that of 'president-like' prime ministers. The key difference between a president and a prime minister was summed up by Bagehot when he described the role of a prime minister to be 'primus inter pares'. This means that traditionally the prime minister held all the power in government whilst still ensuring that all cabinet members equally influenced key decisions made. Although, that may have changed over the years. Previous Prime Minister have shown similar traits displayed by US presidents. One of those features is the growth of spatial leadership and presidential leadership style. This suggests that these leaders deliberately make themselves outsiders within government. This is so that they can become independent but also stay as part of government. This was displayed by Thatcher and Blair. Thatcher in fact criticised the government which she was the head of. Blair had his core executives, also known as the 'sofa government', which made more decisions without consulting all the cabinet members and worked with individual members, during bilateral meetings. ...read more.

Middle

For example, declaring war on Iraq, which was decided by Blair as he has the prerogative power and majority seats in the Commons which greatly influenced the debate on whether or not to go to war. This reflects the presidential government, as the Commons is only used as a 'sounding board' for the prime minister to pass legislations and declarations through. In an age of 'political celebrity' the image of a prime minister dominates that of their party and senior colleagues. This is demonstrated by the fact that elections to an extent have become personalised campaigns between the PM and the leader of the Opposition. For example, many of the Labour campaign posters in 2001 and 2005 during the lead up to the general election, featured Tony Blair?s face prominently, indicating that British campaigns are starting to appear more like American elections, placing more stress on party leaders rather than party policies. However, some may argue against the idea that PM's are now effectively presidents, because there hasn?t been any permanent change in the style of leadership adopted by the prime ministers. ...read more.

Conclusion

A final point is that prime ministers can only be as powerful as their ministerial colleagues allow them to be. Although the cabinet may not appear to be important it actually holds a significant amount of authority as it can turn against the prime minister, stopping them from making the decisions that they want. This was evident during Thatchers term when she was oust out of government by her own cabinet members because she made majority of decisions without consulting them, as a president would do. Prime ministers are stopped by their cabinet members from becoming presidential. In conclusion, although some previous prime ministers have appeared to become 'presidents', it is important to remember that the legal system of British politics has not changed. This means that the prime minister will never be able to become the head of state and head of government, as a president is. The extent to which prime ministers can act as presidents depends on variable factors such as economic situation, strength of executives dominance and political profile in the media. The future for the British political system is unknown, but it appears to steer away from a presidential government. ...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. Comparison of the US President and British Prime Minister.

    This explains the reliance on 'logrolling' by the US President when attempting to gain support for legislation, rather than the reliance on party loyalty, which dominates British politics. The example of Reagan, a Republican, in gaining control over the federal budget through the cultivation of good relations with Tip O'Neill,

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

    This explains the reliance on 'logrolling' by the US President when attempting to gain support for legislation, rather than the reliance on party loyalty, which dominates British politics. The example of Reagan, a Republican, in gaining control over the federal budget through the cultivation of good relations with Tip O'Neill,

  1. Compare and contrast the position and powers of the US president and the UK ...

    The Prime Minister has no such restrictions. He selects all those people he wants for his cabinet and can remove them if they fail to make the grade. He does not have to consult anybody over this though he might discuss it with an inner circle of very close colleagues.

  2. The office is what the holder chooses to make of it. Access the accuracy ...

    Therefore it is perhaps easier for the Prime Minister to make something of his office than it is for the US President since the latter position, is much more rigid.

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

    The prime minister has the power to recommend to the monarch the arrangement of disbandment of parliament within a five-year period. This reinforces the PM's authority against the oppositional parties but not the party, however this weapon can sometimes backfire, for instances when Edward Heath called an election in 1974

  2. To what extent has the Prime Minister become Presidential?

    We have begun to see a lot more of Blair with increased media appearances, such as the recent open questioning session in Newcastle over the war in Iraq. It is also of interest to note how frequently Blair appears at meetings with other international Heads of States.

  1. Is the British prime minister now effectively a president?

    There many counter arguments to the presidential thesis. Professor Peter Hennessy. He suggests that the office of prime minister is an extremely flexible one. Some prime ministers will therefore seek to dominate, while others will be either unable or unwilling to do so. The actual powers and limitations of the office have not changed a great deal in modern times.

  2. How powerful is the Prime Minister?

    Similarly, Cameron also enjoyed this luxury and it was the reason as Heywood puts it his ?popularity held up well in his first year in office, despite his controversial policy agenda.? This was partly down to the support of nine of the UK?s national dallies for one or the other of the coalition parties.

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