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Prime Minister & Cabinet Cont.
Mind Map on Prime Minister & Cabinet Cont., created by Madeleine Lynch on 06/01/2014.
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almost 9 years ago
Prime Minister & Cabinet
Powers of the Prime Minister
Sources of PM Power
Every Prime Minister has whatever the circumstances. Prerogative powers derived from the monarch.
To negotiate foreign treaties
To command the armed forces
To appoint or dismiss ministers
Determine government structure
Head of civil service and determine its structure
Grant peerages and appoints people to important public posts
Vary according to the political circumstances of each Prime Minister
Chief policy maker for the government
Represents the nation
Controls cabinet business
Makes short term emergency decisions
Limits to PM power
Must maintain support of their party, or will lose considerable power
Margaret Thatcher lost the support of the Conservatives in 1989 over her support for the unpopular poll tax. She was voted out of office by her MPs.
The size of their parliamentary majority. Small majority means less power.
John Major lost his large majority after the 1992 election and so lost authority
PMs who lose the support of the media and public will have weaker authority
Gordon Brown (2007-10) developed a weak imagine among the press and public
Events can weaken a PM
Tony Blair lost much of his authority over the Iraq War. Gordon Brown suffered from the aftermath of the financial crisis 2008-2009
Occasionally the PM may be confronted by united cabinet opposition and will have to back down
Tony Blair wanted to bring Britain into the European single currency but most of his cabinet insisted the decision should be delayed.
David Cameron after 2010
Prime Ministerial Leadership
Patronage. The PM hires and fires ministers, this means most ministers are loyal
The PM controls the cabinet agenda and can manipulate what is discussed
Prime Ministers can use 'sofa politics'. They have discussions outside cabinet, read agreement and present a fait accompli
Prime Ministers can manipulate the membership of cabinet committees and influence policy formulation
PMs can use 'inner cabinets' of senior ministers to conduct government. Often happens during war.
Prime Ministers have reduced drastically the length and frequency of cabinet meetings
Appointment of Cabinet Ministers
Close ally of PM e.g George Osborne
Promotion as reward e.g Oliver Letwin
May represent significant section e.g Theresa May
Key figures in the coalition's party e.g Nick Clegg
Potential rebels, as they can be silenced e.g Vince Cable
Foreseen as an effective minister e.g Andrew Lansley
Politically balanced cabinet. E.g John Major ensured that both right wing and moderates hat representatives
Balance the cabinet in a coalition e.g 18 Conservatives and 5 LD
Social balance e.g women and ethnic minorities
Increasing PM dominance
Media treat the PM as a single spokesperson for government
PMs have gradually exerted increasing control over cabinets
More special advisers, policy units and committees 'Prime Minister's Department'
PM make policy through bilateral arrangements
Patronage powers used to create loyalty
Prime Minister now a President?
Prerogative powers are important in foreign relations and military matters
Spatial leadership. Increasingly separated from the government, a lone figure.
Prime Minister's Department
Media treat as a President
Prime Ministers are not head of state and cannot speak for whole nation
Important limitations on Prime Ministerial power
Prime Minister does not have a separate source of authority
'Weaker' Prime Ministers do not have a presidential image or style
Evidence for Presidentialism
Margaret Thatcher 1982-89
dominated political system 1982-89
dominant idealogical position
liberated the Falklands in 1982
ultimately removed by her party
Tony Blair 1997-2007
led New Labour
committed the armed forces to Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq & Afghanistan
Important, well respected world statesman
weakened the cabinet created policy personally
driven out of office by his party
lost authority after Iraq war
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