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

The relationship between the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Extracts from this document...


PM and Cabinet 1a) Define the terms 'collective responsibility' and 'individual ministerial responsibility'. 1b) Explain why these concepts are important. 2a) Describe the main powers of the Prime Minister. 2b) Choose any 2 of these powers and explain why they are important. 1a) 'Collective responsibility' and 'individual ministerial responsibility' are terms applied to members of the Cabinet. This is the British executive, the group of ministers responsible for implementing government policy. 'Collective responsibility' is a convention, entailing the fact that all Cabinet ministers share responsibility for any decisions made by the Cabinet. Therefore, even if they are not in personal agreement, as a group of ministers, they have to show unanimous support. For example, with the current war on Iraq, Clare Short, the International Development minister, publicly declared her personal views against the war, but to remain a member of the Cabinet, she had to accept the decision and therefore is responsible along with the rest of the Cabinet for the decision. Conversely, Robin Cook, the former Leader of the Commons, resigned his post as he felt he could not comply with the convention, as his personal views were too strong. Collective responsibility also means that all the members of the Cabinet have a right to be present when decisions are made and have the right to make their views known at the time, but the view of the majority on the committee prevails. ...read more.


Clearly, through the previously outlines roles played by the Cabinet and indeed everyone on the government payroll, the big two notions are undoubtedly crucial. 2a) The office of Prime Minister only originated due to the inability of several foreign Kings to lead Cabinet meetings. Therefore, mainly for this reason, the role of the Prime Minister is not constitutionally defined. He is the first among equals (primus inter pares), but ultimately is elevated far above the rest. Briefly, the roles of the Prime Minister are heading the executive and consequently government policy, leading his party inside and outside of Parliament and being Britain's senior representative out of seas. In addition, he is also the countries head appointing officer. To fulfil his job, the Prime Minister has several powers which he can utilise: Firstly, he has the power of appointment, whereby he appoints all ministers and subsequently promotes, demotes, dismisses. This means that after an election he is able to appoint whoever he likes to fill all the government positions, and decide who does what in Cabinet. He appoints the chairmen of Cabinet committees, which is now increasingly important. This power means that he is able to take an unelected member of the House of Lords, and get them controlling several Government think tanks. ...read more.


Foreign minister after Home minister, and David Miliband who was promoted to the top of the Education department after only one spell as an MP. Margaret Thatcher on the other hand, was known for firing a lot of Ministers during her time as Prime Minister. As the Prime Minister can also appoint the chairmen of Cabinet committees, it means that he can appoint unelected Lords in the Cabinet or Ministries. This is important as some Lords have effective qualities but cannot fulfil some roles due to them not being in the House of Commons. Lord Falconer, who works as head of some Home Office committees is an unelected Lord, but Blair, who values his opinions and qualities using the power of patronage can put him in this position. Also, of added importance, is the appointment of Royal Commissions, Taskforces, Senior Civil Servants, Senior Judges, Archbishops, Governor of the Bank of England, as well as many other positions. However, the Archbishop of Cantebury, head of the Protestant Church, being chosen by a Catholic Prime Minister, asks some questions about whether this power is suited to the role. Overall, the Prime Ministers powers are of differing value, however the most important as patronage and the royal prerogative. These give him the greatest scope to make change, however in many situations question his role as a first among equals. ...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.

    Usually that involves the opposition-orientated prime minister and government dealing with the internal governance of France, without major policy involvement from the President. In turn the government give the President considerable freedom to represent France on the international stage, shaping foreign policy, with both the President and Prime Minister representing France at European Council meetings.

  2. The Prime Ministers Powers Of Patronage

    However, while the prime ministers powers of patronage give them the power to appoint their senior cabinet, it does not in practice give them a free hand in controlling it. A prime minister is unlikely to overlook senior party figures, some of whom may have been rivals for the prime ministers job.

  1. Does Britain have a Prime Ministerial or Cabinet Government?

    Major deliberately set himself up as the opposite to this. He promoted the friendly image of a consensus politician who encouraged discussion in Cabinet. Because of this he has often been labelled as a weak leader who was controlled by his party rather then controlling them.

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

    The agenda of the cabinet, especially in overall direction and policy and for all committees chaired by the Prime Minister is approved by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary. The Prime Minister can therefore exploit the right to schedule items for Cabinet discussion, call speakers, take sense

  1. Free essay

    Voting Behaviour

    In Tony Blair's party political broadcast he was trying to gain the public's vote by using a slick modern style with soundbites such as 'education, education, education' and 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime', logo and theme music.

  2. What powers does the PM have over his or her cabinet?

    This is a PM who would be a force in making basically every decision for the cabinet and give them no part at all in major decisions. A very good example of a dominant PM is Margaret Thatcher who by the end of her time as PM had been so

  1. Where does the decision making power lie in the British executive: with the Prime ...

    Internal interdependence complicates the identification of discrete power nodes but power can be located when decisions are made in disagreement between the actors by identifying the 'winning' party. The tense is also important in the area of focus for the essay, the question specifies the distribution of power between the

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

    As such prime ministers can no longer implement one dimensional public policy and instead face the difficulty of trying to appeal to a massively diverse electorate. Since 1945 Britain's place in the world, and as such the prime minister's global role has changed dramatically.

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