outline the roles of the prime minister and more :)

notes on the prime minster and the realtionship bestween the ministers and the civil service

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Outline the roles of the Prime Minister
Controls House of Commons
Heads executive, leader of the largest party that has a majority of seats in the HOC
Represents the UK in international conferences
Decisive role in government, guides legislation through Parliament with the cooperation of Cabinet ministers
Has special responsibilities in the field of national security
Organises government ­ may include creation, merging or abolition of departments (e.g. John Prescott's
department was 3 areas merged together)
Sets agenda for cabinet meetings, decides frequency and length of meetings and decides where votes should be
All power and authority derives from the fact that the Prime Minister is considered as `first among equals'
(Primus Inter Pares) in a system of cabinet government although it can be argues that this has been replaced by
prime ministerial government.
Takes important decisions on the basis of royal prerogative e.g. sending troops to war
Appoints/dismisses a variety of positions within political life on the basis of patronage ­ this included cabinet
members, life peers and head of QUANGOS (e.g. BBC)
The Crown The Party Parliament The Electorate
Prime Minister is Usually the Prime Minister if Needs the support of Voters have been shown in
technically appointed by the leader of the majority the majority of the recent years to be increasingly
the Monarch and party in the HOC (except HOC. It is influenced by the standing of
therefore carries her with coalitions such as the backbench MPs who party leaders therefore the
authority (royal newly formed ConLib can bring down a winning party can claim the
prerogative). In practice,
coalition) government in a Vote authority of the people. People
appointment by the The PM must maintain the of No confidence vote on image of party leaders
Queen is just a formality support of their party to (e.g. James rather than policy which puts
as there is usually a remain the PM ­ Margaret Callaghan in 1979), PM in a powerful position
majority party with an Thatcher was removed as forcing the PM to over other MPs and ministers
undisputed leader leader by her own party ­ dissolve Parliament ­ their position in government
failed to support her when is dependent on the party
challenged by Michael leader
Sources of Prime Ministerial Authority
Powers of the prime minister...

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Appointing the cabinet
Demote, dismiss, transfer
Command of cabinet meetings
Major influence over policy
Dissolution of parliament
The Cabinet
Traditionally seen as the supreme decision making body in central government. However in modern times this role has
been questioned. The cabinet is the committee of the most senior ministers appointed by the PM. It is responsible for
coordinating the actions of various departments of state and deciding an implementing government policy.…read more

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Tony Blair reduced the time the cabinet meets and seemed to prefer the bilateral approach when dealing with ministers
ensuring focused discussions take place and that there can be a proper and ongoing review of the work of individual
government departments. Some critical decisions weren't even reported to his cabinet, e.g. independence of the Bank of
Scotland. Richard Crossman argues that the transformation from Cabinet government to Prime Ministerial government has
occurred since 1945.…read more

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This means the government gains its
was elected upon position from the fact that it can
command a majority in the Legislature
The Qualities required by a Minister
Must be prepared for long working hours
Public speaking
Handling legislation
Pressure on minister
The law
Specialist knowledge
Interest groups
The Doctrine of Collective Responsibility
Unwritten code of behaviour which influences the behaviour of cabinet ministers all members of the government are all
responsible for the decisions of the government…read more

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Some claim this prevents dissent and challenge to a PM once decisions have been made only other option is for a
minister to resign which will only be done as a last resort ­ used by the PM to increase their power?
The extent to which CMR exists depends on the power and authority of the PM. Major faced considerable
difficulty in maintaining a united Cabinet, particularly over the issue of Europe.…read more

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Media Coverage, Scandal
2. Public/electorate unhappy
3. Opposition against
4. Lack of backbench support in own party
5. Lack of Cabinet Support
Want to spend more time with the family
error of judgement
abuse of power
clash of interest
difficulties in coping with the job
for misleading the house of commons
13 ­ the minister can survive, after 4 and 5 a minister will definitely have to resign.…read more

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Civil Servants often outlast ministers and can use various tactics to avoid having to implement a policy they do not
like. They may wait for a change in ministers as new ministers may be open to the advice they are offering.
Alternatively, they could brief officials in other departments to ensure that their ministers are primed to oppose the
minister's decision. They may also leak a document to the media in the hope that this will undermine the minister's
credibility.…read more


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