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The Cabinet
The Role of the Cabinet
The key decision making body
Senior ministers, around 22.
Meetings ­ frequency and length has fallen
since `50s. Brown and Blair only once a
Register and ratify issues
Discuss and decide on major issues
Collective Responsibility:
Core principle with 3 main elements:…

Page 2

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Temporary suspension of collective responsibility
to prevent resignations. Harold Wilson 1975
European Economic Community
referendum, ministers could vote `yes' or `no'
even though the government supported the `yes'
Leaks of information e.g. 1990 press
published details of divisions on Europe in
Major's cabinet.
Dissent and nonresignation of ministers who…

Page 3

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Individual Ministerial Responsibility
Ministers accountable for own conduct and that
of department.
Government draws distinction between
ministerial accountability and individual
responsibility. MaxwellFyfe said ministers
couldn't be held to account for mistakes of civil
servants. BUT are constitutionally responsible for
informing Parliament of their department.
1966 Scott Report = ministers only…

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Clegg holds a cabinet position with formalised
powers he cannot be removed or reshuffled
Cameron must consult Clegg on ministerial
appointments therefore his prerogative is
The Lib Dems have 5 cabinet ministers and 24
ministers elsewhere. However, none of these
ministers are in the big spending departments
or in…

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Conservatives, e.g. Michael Gove and William
Hague over the Libyan uprising.
The bilateral dynamic of PM being the center
and the ministers as the `spokes' remains in
place, even if Clegg has a more central role.


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