TO WHAT EXTENT HAS PRIME MINISTERIAL POWER GROWN IN RECENT YEARS? [40]

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TO WHAT EXTENT HAS PRIME MINISTERIAL POWER GROWN IN RECENT YEARS? [40]

There is an argument as to whether prime ministerial power has grown or depleted over recent years. The ‘coalition’ is one of the current main limitations on (the current Conservative Prime Minister) David Cameron’s power; it means that he has to compromise on key issues such as policy, positions in cabinet and choosing the election date. However, concepts such as presidential thesis would argue for an increase in the PMs capacity to rule.

In 2010, when the Conservative party formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, both Cameron and Nick Clegg (leader of the Liberal-Dem party and deputy PM), had to make sacrifices. One of the central casualties was Cameron’s loss of his right to choose the members of cabinet from his party alone, with the Lib-Dems owning 5 out of 23 cabinet seats. Key positions given to their important politicians; Clegg and Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the treasury) are key examples. Moreover, the Liberals have a certain influence over Cameron’s decisions, limiting his options and therefore limiting his power.

 The Prime Minister also has to be careful to keep his politically versatile advisors happy and to ensure agreement between all cabinet members. As there are now more contradicting views in cabinet than there would have been in a single party government, it becomes more problematic and challenging to satisfy all opinions. Ultimately, this must limit Cameron’s ability to make drastic changes or put policy into action.

The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act of 2011 withdrew the prime minister’s power to choose an election date that

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