Past paper questions + mark scheme answers

Prime Minister and Cabinet Unit 2, all the 5/10/25/40 markers with the answers from the mark scheme

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THE PRIME MINITSER AND CABINET UNIT 2
5 MARKERS
1) With reference to the source, outline the reasons Gordon Brown gives for proposing that prime ministerial powers be
surrendered or limited.
The people have not been consulted about the exercise of these powers.
The nature of these [prerogative] powers has no place in a `modern democracy'.
This would make for a more `open' democracy
2) With reference to source 1, describe two types of issues discussed by the Cabinet.
Discussing the economic situation of the day
Hearing reports from senior ministers (Burma)
Discussing parliamentary business and the legislative programme.
3) With reference to the source, describe two limitations on prime ministerial power.
Cabinet can turn against them (PM is first among equals) e.g. Cameron EU referendum
Parliament, PM may be overruled by Parliament e.g. Tax credit cuts 2015
4) With reference to the source, outline how coalition government has affected appointments to the Cabinet
The initial allocation of cabinet seats was decided between the prime minister and his deputy.
The allocation of cabinet seats will be in line with relative party strengths in the Commons.
5) With reference to the source, describe how the introduction of fixedterm Parliaments has affected prime ministerial power.
He cannot call an election when events are in his party's favour.
He can plan his programme in the knowledge of when the next election will be held.
10 MARKERS
6) With reference to the source, and your own knowledge, explain the ways in which Prime Ministers are able to control
Parliament.
Prerogative powers are exercised on behalf of the Monarch by the prime minister and the executive.
party lo Party loyalty and whips.
The power of patronage is a key element of control.
Since prime ministers are chief policy makers and control Cabinet
7) With reference to the sources and your own knowledge, explain the factors a prime minister considers when appointing or
dismissing ministers.
To provide a progression for talented backbenchers.
Because a politician may be a strong ally of a powerful cabinet member.
He may wish to change the political balance of the cabinet.
He may wish to promote individuals to change the gender/social background/ethnic makeup
He may wish to `gag' a potential adversary by subjecting them to collective responsibility.
8) With reference to the source and your own knowledge, explain three reforms, other than fixedterm Parliaments, which could
limit the powers of the prime minister.
Transferring some of his patronage powers to parliament or other bodies.
Reform of the electoral system, making large majorities unlikely.
The introduction of an elected London mayor and devolution generally create rival centres of power.
Greater European integration.
An elected second chamber.
9) With reference to the source and your own knowledge, explain why collective responsibility is an important aspect of UK
government.
It means that there will be collective discussion of policy making.
It means that deliberations inside the cabinet remain private.
It means that all ministers will support decisions made within the cabinet
10 ) With reference to the source, and your own knowledge, explain the prime minister's prerogative powers.
Powers exercised by the PM without Parliamentary sanction
Prerogative Powers include examples such as being commanderinchief, signing international treaties, public
These powers are solely in the hands of the prime minister
Nevertheless parliament remains sovereign as it can, by statute, remove prerogative powers.
10) With reference to source 2, and your own knowledge, what factors does the Prime Minister take into account when appointing
cabinet ministers?
The ability of the minister, suggested by the appointment of Jacqui Smith, former Chief Whip.
Miliband's appointment suggests it is a good idea to bring a rival into the Cabinet
He might wish to have a socially balanced cabinet.
He might want a balanced Cabinet, in which case he would appoint members from different sections of the party
He might want to appoint his very close allies, sometimes as a reward for past support, Brown appointed Darling
25 MARKERS

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Page 2

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To what extent has prime ministerial power grown in recent years?
Ways in which power has grown:
The growth of the Downing Street `machine' and other sources of independent advice to the Prime Minister.
The growing importance of foreign policy issues which are under the direct control of the Prime Minister.
The growing tendency of the media to treat the P.M. as government spokesperson.…read more

Page 3

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Ministers in charge of large departments, such as the Treasury, have their own power bases (BlairBrown)
Special problems may arise under coalition government.
Factors which can enhance control include:
The extent to which cabinet is ideologically united.
The personal popularity of the P.M.
The P.M's dominance of the governing party.…read more

Page 4

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P.M. can still be overruled by Cabinet and cannot force policies through powerful, reluctant colleagues.…read more

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