The Cabinet

My pretty notes on the Cabinet for Edexcel Govt. and Politics Unit 2. Contains notes on how the coalition has affected the cabinet and ministers. Includes a beautiful picture of Vince Cable for your enjoyment.

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  • Created by: Lydia
  • Created on: 18-05-12 15:15
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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:
Secrecy. Ministers must keep details of
discussions in cabinet secret. Ensures sensitive
information doesn't enter the public domain.
Binding Decisions. When a decision is made it
becomes binding on all individuals even if they
have opposed it. If unable to accept, they should
resign e.g. Nigel Lawson 1989.
Confidence vote Entire cabinet must resign if
it's defeated in a vote of no confidence. General
election called. E.g. Callaghan's Labour
Convention of this is being eroded:

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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
oppose important aspects of policy. `Wets' in
Thatcher's first cabinet opposed her economic
policy, none resigned.
PM dominance undermining convention of
collective responsibility by ignoring the cabinet.…read more

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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 culpable if
misleading Parliament knowingly. Beverley
Hughes resigned in 2004 she gave `misleading
impression' to MPs on checks on migrants.
Resignation ­ mistakes made in department,
policy failure, political pressure, personal
misconduct e.g.…read more

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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 the three major departments.
Cameron cannot remove Lib Dem ministers or
whips without consulting Clegg.…read more

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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.…read more


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