(4) How powerfull is the Prime Minister


A level Governing the UK - 2C (PM, Cabinet and the Executive) Mind Map on (4) How powerfull is the Prime Minister, created by Marcus Danvers on 14/01/2014.
Mind Map by Marcus Danvers, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by Marcus Danvers over 9 years ago

Resource summary

(4) How powerfull is the Prime Minister
  1. Functions of the Prime Minister
    1. Head of the governing party
      1. Represent country on an international stage e.g. G8 and European Council
        1. Decide the date of the General Election
          1. Head of the Executive
            1. There is some flexibility in the role. Sir William Harcourt, “the office of Prime Minister is what its holder chooses, or is able to make of it”.
            2. Main powers of the Prime Minister
              1. Power to hire and fire
                1. Powers of Patronage – giving people roles e.g. Bishops, peers and the Chairman of the BBC, as well as the most important perhaps – Cabinet and Cabinet committee members. Also, can withdraw the whip from party members – Major did this to a number of Eurosceptics in the mid 1990s.
                  1. This strenghs the PM
                    1. The PM can ensure the appointment and appointment and promotion of loyal supportes
                      1. The fact that the PM conrols their political careers ensure that both ministers and the majority of backbenchers remain loyal
                      2. Thatcher consolidated her position between 1979 and 1983 by removing all the wets from her cabinet
                        1. This power has limits
                          1. All ministers must be MP's or peers.
                            1. The vast majority of Ministers must come from the majority party
                              1. Party unity requires an ideological and politcal balance within cabinet
                                1. Particular groups shoul dbe represented for instance women
                                  1. Opponents may be less dangerous inside government than outside
                                    1. The advent of the coalition government means that the hiring and firing of minsters must take account of the need to maintain the coalition
                                  2. Leadership of the party
                                    1. e.g. deciding the date of the general election
                                      1. Party leadership underpins all other aspects of PMs power. It gives them leverage across the wide er governmenttal system
                                        1. This strenghts his power
                                          1. Party leadership increases the PM's authority within the cabinet and government, as other ministers recognize that party loyalty focuses on the person of the PM and not on any other minister.
                                            1. It allows the PM to control Parliament through commanding a disiplined majority in the Commons
                                              1. More widely, party members recognize that the Party's fortunes are closely linked to the PM's personal standing
                                              2. The benefits that flow from party leadership are limited
                                                1. As the party leader, the PM is meant to deliver electoral success. If the government becomes unpopular, and especially if the PM is viewed as a electoral liability, party loyalty can evaporate quickly
                                                  1. No PM can survice without the support of his or her party.
                                                2. The ability to manage the Cabinet
                                                  1. e.g. setting the agenda for Cabinet meetings (what is discussed)
                                                    1. This enables PMs to harness the decision-making authority of the cabinet to their own ends and determin the role and significance of the cabinet
                                                      1. PM chair cabinet meeting, manage their agendas and discusions, and sum up decisions
                                                        1. Convene cabinet meetings and decide how often they will be called and how long they will last
                                                          1. Decide the number and nature of cabinet committees, sub-commitees and ministeial groups, and appoint their members and chairs
                                                            1. In the 50s 100 cabinet meetings a year. now about 40 a years. Under Blair rarely lasted more than an hour, lengthened under Brown
                                                              1. Blair tended to adopted a more informal style of decision-making, sometimes called "sofa government". This is where Blair would meet indiviual ministers
                                                                1. PM's ability to manage and control the cabinet has its limits
                                                                  1. The cabinet's supports for the PM is conditional on the PM being popular and successful
                                                                    1. Cabinet resignations, particularly of senior figures, can damge politlcal support for and the public standing of the PM
                                                                      1. Coaltion governments government means that the process of cabinet management has become entangled in the process of coalition mangament
                                                                    2. Institutional supports
                                                                      1. e.g. setting the agenda for Cabinet meetings (what is discussed)
                                                                        1. PM power has grown significantly as a result of the buil-up of bodies and advisors who support the PM
                                                                          1. Two important bodies serving the PM
                                                                            1. The PM's Office, which since 2002 has also inclued the policy unit
                                                                              1. The Cabinet Office, which has developed into coordinationg hub of the UK executive, helping to "Join up" the work of the white hall government department
                                                                              2. Blair created new special office units for the Cabinet Office, such as the Woman's Unit and the UK Anti-Drugs Co-orfination Unit
                                                                                1. The number of special adivisors, who responde directly to the PM, have increased under Major there where only 8, Blair ebentually had 50. He also gave some formal control over civil servants
                                                                                  1. The benefit of these institutional support is limited
                                                                                    1. They are meagre by comparison with the institutional support available to a US president
                                                                                      1. Even the expaned Cabinet Office does not amount to a PMs department
                                                                                    2. Access to the media
                                                                                      1. e.g. control of political image and managing of information
                                                                                        1. The expansion of the "broadcast" media, and increasingly the "new" media, has not only increased the flow of political information to the public
                                                                                          1. It strengthens PM power
                                                                                            1. The growth of "political celebrity" gives PMs the ability to appeal "over the heads" of their senior colleagues, parties and government institutions, direct to the public
                                                                                              1. The media's obsession with personality and image guarantees that media attention focuses primarliy on political leaders, and especially on the PM
                                                                                                1. Control over government communications means that PMs have been able to structure the flow of info to the public . Age of "SPIN"
                                                                                                  1. Thatcher period -press secretary Bernard Ingham
                                                                                                    1. Blair era - press secretary Alistair Campbell
                                                                                                      1. Cameron until 2011 - Andy Coulson
                                                                                                    2. Media attention does not always work to the benefit of the PM
                                                                                                      1. "Bad news" stories are often "hyped" by the media, turing a problem into a crisis
                                                                                                        1. The emphasis on "spin" and "news management" may prove to be couter-productive, as it undermines trust in governement and credibility of the PM
                                                                                                    3. Sources of the Prime Minister’s powers
                                                                                                      1. The media tends to focus on the Prime Minister more than other political colleagues, including cabinet members
                                                                                                        1. PM appear on the world stage and are seen as the Head of State to many others
                                                                                                          1. Support of Parliament – Blair did not lose a vote until November 2005. However, Cameron lost vote on EU referendum with revolt of Conservative backbenchers in October 2011.
                                                                                                          2. How do you become PM?
                                                                                                            1. Must be an MP- PMs have seats in the Commons
                                                                                                              1. Must be a partly leader
                                                                                                                1. His or Her party has normally had majority control of the Commons
                                                                                                                Show full summary Hide full summary


                                                                                                                (6)The constraints on the Prime Minister: The PM and coalition government
                                                                                                                Marcus Danvers
                                                                                                                (3)Theories of executive power
                                                                                                                Marcus Danvers
                                                                                                                (2) Who has power in the Executive? Continued
                                                                                                                Marcus Danvers
                                                                                                                (5) What are the constraints on a PM?
                                                                                                                Marcus Danvers
                                                                                                                The Constitution Review
                                                                                                                Kate S
                                                                                                                (4)Source of the British constitution
                                                                                                                Marcus Danvers
                                                                                                                (9) What are differences between Government and Parliament?
                                                                                                                Marcus Danvers
                                                                                                                (13) Reforming the House of Commons
                                                                                                                Marcus Danvers
                                                                                                                (2) 7 Key function of parliament
                                                                                                                Marcus Danvers
                                                                                                                (11) How is the relationship between government and parliament influenced?
                                                                                                                Marcus Danvers
                                                                                                                (7) A Codified Constitution for and against
                                                                                                                Marcus Danvers