The Debate on styles of Government

Revision notes on the different types of government. Different Prime Ministers can have different approaches to government. Here are some of the charactersistics of the three syles of government.

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Cabinet Government

  • The PM was supposed to be primus inter pares - merely the 'first among equals'.


  • Statergy was decided by the cabinet


  • Key Policies and decisions were decided by the cabinet


  • The cabinet was the focal point of the government.
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Prime - Ministerial government

  • The PM dominates the media and is the spokesman for the government.
  • PM rarely attends the Commons and sees Parliament as of limited importance.
  • Cabinet is downgraded in staus and meets less often, and is less involved in decision making.
  • Key Civil service appointments are made by NO 10
  • The PM works more with his/her 'YES' people and less with ministers and civil servants. 
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Prime - Ministerial government (continued)

  • The PM dominates the policy - making process.


  • The PM takes all major decisions taken by ministers - 'micromanages'.


  • The PM dominates foreign policy and makes all the key decisions regarding the EU.


  • The personality of the PM is vital to the whole administration.  
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Presidential government

Be careful about viewing the PM as 'presidential' and just assuming that presidents are all - powerful. US presidents are limited by a written constitution.

A better example might be the French President who:

  • is directly elected
  • appoints the PM and assists the PM with key appointments
  • chairs the council of ministers (cabinet)
  • has a veto over legislation
  • decides on holding referendums
  • can dissole parliament
  • makes key appointments in the civil service and armed forces
  • controls all key foreign policy, defence and EU issues
  • plays a key role in the management of the economy
  • is subject to less acountability - does not face the equivalent of PMQs
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Possible reforms

A number of reforms to the office of PM have been considered including:

  • creating a Prime Minister's department which is both transparent and accountable


  • reducing the royal perogatives the PM controls, such as going to war


  • establishing a formal and recognised role for the cabinet in the decison -  making process


  • requirming parliamentary consent for major decisions
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Milford Cubicle


Oh Milford. Your notes are brilliant.

Ali Yousaf



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