To what extent can the PM control the Cabinet?

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  • To what extent can the Prime Minister control the Cabinet?
    • Can control the Cabinet
      • They have patronage powers which promote loyalty
      • They has control over the agendas for Cabinet meetings
      • They many manipulate the outcome through bilaterals with ministers (sofa politics- Blair used this.
      • They are considered to chief policy maker
      • They now have considerable sources of their own advice
    • Limits to power
      • They remain only primus inter pares- first among equals
      • They can  be challenged by a dissident majority (Major)
      • They can be removed ultimately from power, as with Thatcher and arguably Blair
      • Ministers in charge of large departments, such as the Treasury, have their own  power bases- (Blair and Brown) and (Osborne, Cameron and Alexander)
      • Special problems may arise under Coalition government
    • Factors which can enhance power
      • The extent to which the Cabinet ideologically united
      • The personal popularity of the PM
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