POLITICS the EXECUTIVE

The Executive OCR Government Paper 2

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  • Created on: 10-12-11 12:08
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THE EXECUTIVE
DEFINITION
The branch of government which has sole authority and responsibility of the daily
administration of the state.
The PM is head of the executive
Executive power based at 10 Downing Street. Includes PM, his/her office, cabinet and its
committees
ROLE/FUNCTIONS OF PRIME MINISTER
Head of the executive ­ of whole administrative structure and expected to be
questioned or held accountable (local issues such as education or the armed services)
Policy maker ­ responsible for all aspects of national policy (healthcare) (strong
members of party can make this difficult)
Provides vision and strategic direction ­ broad vision for countries future and how to
achieve it (becoming closer with Europe)
Party head ­ major role in party policy and winning elections
Patronage ­ leading role in appointing new members of House of Lords and COE bishops
(Brown appointed Lord Sugar and Lord Jones) have no choice but to but senior collegues
in cabinet (Ken Clark conservative big beast) (
Parliament ­ leader of parliament
Overseas ­ meet and greet national leaders and attend international conferences (G7
and debate about overseas aid)
Communicator ­ to public, parliament and media explaining what is happening and why.
Can be questioned
Decision taker ­ take all necessary decisions for smooth running of the UK
POWERS OF THE PRIME MINISTER
Appoint and dismiss ministers ­ reward those who are loyal or obedient, dismiss
opponents or rivals (Cameron's first task was to appoint cabinet) (can recalibrate so
ideological balance, Thatcher but too much means mismanagement of the PM)
Appoint members of cabinet committees ­ decide who is on what committee (limited
role, who is capable of the job)
Other appointments ­ important role in heads of army or chair of BBC
Control of government agenda ­ give policies that they favour real priority (Thatcher&
privatisation , Blair & Iraq war, Brown & social service reform)
Control of civil servants ­ appoint top civil servants to assure they are loyal
Control of parliament ­ majority means his ideas can become law
Influence over the media ­ setting agenda of the media (Blair was good, Brown was not)
Influence in peerages and other honours ­ controlled by PM (Blair and Brown both put
long time labour supporters in the HOL)

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FACTORS GREATER POWERS
good electoral performance (Thatcher and Blair both won 3)
policy success (legit of PM)
media for the PM economy
Personality
economy
FACTORS LIMITING POWERS
varying support in party
size of majority FPTP favour labour
state of economy
party divisions
coalition
media
PM'S REALTIONSHIP WITH CABINET
PM chairs the cabinet
Decides who is in the cabinet and the cabinet committees
ROLE OF CABINET
Clearing house for decisions that may be taken elsewhere
Vital for the coalition government in recent years as acts as…read more

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COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY
when appointed to government have to accept collective responsibility
money and resources are scarce so would not want ministers to act on best interests
for department
treat all business as confidential and do not leak to the press
support policies even if disagree with them otherwise resign (Short and Cook 2003 over
the Iraq war)
good as provides ministers with full support for agendas
bad as wrong for ministers to defend policies that they do not agree on
ROLES OF MINISTERS
TYPES OF…read more

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Civil servants have to carry out what ministers say even if they feel they are ignorant or
wrong
KEY DEVELOPMESNT IN THE CORE EXECUTIVE
Support team has grown in No. 10 over recent years (Tony Blair went from 100 to over
200 people working for him, including Jonathan Powell and Alastair Campbell)
Coalition cabinet; partners on all major issues.…read more

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