Eplain How the Prime Minister Can Control the Cabinet

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Explain how the Prime Minister can control the cabinet. (16)
The Prime minister is the head of the cabinet and although supposedly only
`Primus inter pares' he has a lot more powers in reality than the other ministers
of cabinet. He therefore controls cabinet in a number of ways.
The Prime Minister chairs cabinet meetings and has powers of patronage
therefore he has the power to appoint the ministers in the cabinet but also he has
the power to fire those ministers or reshuffle them. Thatcher famously sacked
Michael Hesline over the Westland helicopter sale therefore the Prime Minister
has control over cabinet ministers especially if they disagree with them.
The Prime Minister can also control cabinet because his/her party will most
likely be in a majority therefore because ministers are apart of the government
party, they will be expected to be loyal and vote on any policy the PM wants as it
is more than likely the Prime Minister will appoint those closest to him or political
Also, the Prime Minister decides when cabinet meets together and Tony Blair
shortened the duration of cabinet meetings and met in full cabinet less frequently
than before. Therefore this is a prime example of when and how the Prime
Minister can control the cabinet because of the powers he has gained. An
effective Prime Minister will have more control over cabinet if he/she acts as a
coordinator on disputed issues. Therefore this would result in ministers who are
more willing to support government legislation.
When cabinet is in a meeting, it is the Prime Minister who is in control of the
agenda therefore he/she will have direct control and heavily influence cabinet
discussions. If a potential difficult issue needs to be discussed, the Prime
Minister will keep this off the agenda and will discuss in a bilateral discussion
which Tony Blair was know for doing.
Furthermore, the Prime Ministers can control the cabinet through their
dominated personalities. Both Thatcher and Blair were known for being
dominated in cabinet and controlling who was to be in cabinet meetings and
allowing them to speak. If only one minister strongly opposes a plan of
legislation, then the Prime Minister has the power of patronage to fire that
relevant minister for not agreeing with him/her. For example, Thatcher sacked

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Prime Minister is
in complete control of cabinet.
It is clear that in cabinet there is a lack of collective responsibility as the Prime
Minister tries to control the ministers. Although this backfired for Tony Blair when
two ministers, Claire Short and Robin Cook resigned it was clear that Blair had
control and their opinions did not matter because the Prime Minister ignored his
other ministers' advice and controlled cabinet by allowing Britain to go to war
with Iraq.…read more


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