Prime Minister and Cabinet

AS Government and Politics revision cards - Prime Minister and Cabinet

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- The government has to have substancial presence in the House of Parliament and the House of Lords

- Usually 25 members of government are members of the House of Lords and the other 90 are MPs

- All members of government have to sit in Parliament as well as being ministers. Most but not all are MPs in the House of Commons. Members of government who are MPs also have a constituency to look after

- MPs from the government in power are not members of government - they are backbenchers. Government members are front benchers

- PM appoints all members of government and is the only person that can dismiss someone

- All members of government have to take collective responsibility

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Ministerial selection

What a PM looks for when he's making up a government:

- Competence in the role

- Politically reliability

- Show potential

- People who share their political views

- Managerial skills

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Different types of governments

- Conventional government is one that is made up of members all from the same party and can command a majority in the House of Commons

- Minority government is where a party forms a government without a parliamentaray majority. This is unusual, unstable and usually short lived. It can never rely on getting its legislation or budgets passed. They can only keep gov. ticking over!

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Coalition government

- 2 or more parties take part

- Ministerial posts are shared between two or more parties

- Cabinet posts are shared

- Negotiations take place to decide which posts are given to which parties

- Needs to be an agreement about which policies are accepted, this means compromising

- Can be a stable form of government like Germany and Sweden

- Can be unstable and short-lived like Italy

- Usually avoided

- In Scottish government, Labour and Lib Dem have worked together since 1998

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Different types of coalition governments

Majority coalition - Normally two parties. Formed to create a majority in parliament. 2010 coalition was a majority coalition

Grand coalition - Between two major parties. created to form an overwhelming majority. Normally happens in a time of crisis or emergency

Rainbow coalition - Agreements between large number of parties which often have a range of ideas. Usually one big party and several little parties

National coalition - Every party is invited to participate. Usually happens at times of national crisis and works to try and create unity such as Britain's great depression in the 1930s and in WW2

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May 2010 coalition: alternatives

1) Forming a conservative minority government. Unlikely to have lasted long because would have been 20 seats short of a minority and would have had to rely on support from elements of other parties

2) Rainbow coalition including Green, Labour, Scottish Nationalists and others. Unlikely to be very stable or have lasted very long because of the wide range of ideas

The result of the 2010 general election was a Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition. Support of 363 MPs with a majority of 76

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Cabinet government

Cabinet government - system of government where the cabinet is the central policy - making body

- Until 1960s, most understood British government as cabinet government

- Since 1960s, cabinet government has been replaced by prime ministerial government

It used to be that...

- Cabinet represented collective identity of the government

- All important policy decisions were made by the cabinet

- A policy needed full cabinet approval to be official

- Disputes within government were resolved within the cabinet

- PM was 1st among equals. He had higher status but he could be outvoted by cabinet

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