The role of the Prime Minister.

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Charlie Matthews 12CAS 08/05/2007

The role of the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has various roles in the British government system, which coincide to some extent with the administrative divisions of the No.10 Office:

The head of the Executive: The Prime Minister is in charge of overseeing the civil services and government agencies, and is ultimately answerable for all its decisions. This may seem like a fairly big task in its own right, however, he/she is aided in this particular duty by the Cabinet secretariat and the Private Office.

The head of government policy: Though most policy is produced through the departments and through the party’s own policy making apparatus, the Prime Minister has a key influence over the party’s election manifesto and the annual Queen’s speech outlining government legislation for the coming year, and more generally can choose which policies he/she wishes to highlight or play down. Prime ministers traditionally are particularly influential in economic and foreign policy decisions.  In this task the Policy Unit and the Press Office aid him.

The party leader: The Prime Minister is not only in organisational charge of the party as well as the government, but also the figure who personifies that party to the public at large. In this task he/she is aided by the Political secretary (party outside parliament) and the Parliamentary private secretary.

The Head appointing officer: For posts throughout the political and administrative executive branch, as well as the various appointing powers in the church and academe exercised on behalf of the monarch. In this task, the Appointments secretary (crown appointments), Cabinet secretary (senior civil service) and the Principal private secretary (ministers) aid him.

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The Party leader in Parliament: The Prime Minister is the principal figure in the House of Commons, above all in weekly Questions Time when the Prime Minister’s performance has the greatest effect on party morale and public perception, particularly since the televising of the Commons in 1989.

The Senior UK representative overseas: Since the 1970’s prime ministers have been involved in increasing amounts of travel and meetings with foreign heads of government. There are several engagements per year (the G7, UN and up to four European Councils) and several less frequent regular events such as the biannual ...

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