Prime Minister & Cabinet Cont.

Madeleine Lynch
Mind Map by Madeleine Lynch, updated more than 1 year ago
Madeleine Lynch
Created by Madeleine Lynch over 5 years ago
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Mind Map on Prime Minister & Cabinet Cont., created by Madeleine Lynch on 06/01/2014.
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Resource summary

Prime Minister & Cabinet
1 Powers of the Prime Minister
1.1 Sources of PM Power
1.1.1 Prerogative powers
1.1.2 Their party
1.1.3 Parliament
1.1.4 Tradition
1.2 Formal Powers

Annotations:

  • Every Prime Minister has whatever the circumstances. Prerogative powers derived from the monarch.
1.2.1 To negotiate foreign treaties
1.2.2 To command the armed forces
1.2.3 To appoint or dismiss ministers
1.2.4 Determine government structure
1.2.5 Head of civil service and determine its structure
1.2.6 Grant peerages and appoints people to important public posts
1.3 Informal powers

Annotations:

  • Vary according to the political circumstances of each Prime Minister
1.3.1 Chief policy maker for the government
1.3.2 Represents the nation
1.3.3 Controls cabinet business
1.3.4 Makes short term emergency decisions
2 Limits to PM power
2.1 Must maintain support of their party, or will lose considerable power

Annotations:

  • 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. 
2.2 The size of their parliamentary majority. Small majority means less power.

Annotations:

  • John Major lost his large majority after the 1992 election and so lost authority 
2.3 PMs who lose the support of the media and public will have weaker authority

Annotations:

  • Gordon Brown (2007-10) developed a weak imagine among the press and public
2.4 Events can weaken a PM

Annotations:

  • Tony Blair lost much of his authority over the Iraq War. Gordon Brown suffered from the aftermath of the financial crisis 2008-2009
2.5 Occasionally the PM may be confronted by united cabinet opposition and will have to back down

Annotations:

  • Tony Blair wanted to bring Britain into the European single currency but most of his cabinet insisted the decision should be delayed.
2.6 Coalition

Annotations:

  • David Cameron after 2010
3 Prime Ministerial Leadership
3.1 Patronage. The PM hires and fires ministers, this means most ministers are loyal
3.2 The PM controls the cabinet agenda and can manipulate what is discussed
3.3 Prime Ministers can use 'sofa politics'. They have discussions outside cabinet, read agreement and present a fait accompli
3.4 Prime Ministers can manipulate the membership of cabinet committees and influence policy formulation
3.5 PMs can use 'inner cabinets' of senior ministers to conduct government. Often happens during war.
3.6 Prime Ministers have reduced drastically the length and frequency of cabinet meetings
4 Appointment of Cabinet Ministers
4.1 Individual considerations
4.1.1 Close ally of PM e.g George Osborne
4.1.2 Promotion as reward e.g Oliver Letwin
4.1.3 May represent significant section e.g Theresa May
4.1.4 Key figures in the coalition's party e.g Nick Clegg
4.1.5 Potential rebels, as they can be silenced e.g Vince Cable
4.1.6 Foreseen as an effective minister e.g Andrew Lansley
4.2 Team considerations
4.2.1 Politically balanced cabinet. E.g John Major ensured that both right wing and moderates hat representatives
4.2.2 Balance the cabinet in a coalition e.g 18 Conservatives and 5 LD
4.2.3 Social balance e.g women and ethnic minorities
5 Increasing PM dominance
5.1 Media treat the PM as a single spokesperson for government
5.2 PMs have gradually exerted increasing control over cabinets
5.3 More special advisers, policy units and committees 'Prime Minister's Department'
5.4 PM make policy through bilateral arrangements
5.5 Patronage powers used to create loyalty
5.6 Collective Responsibility
6 Prime Minister now a President?
6.1 For
6.1.1 Prerogative powers are important in foreign relations and military matters
6.1.2 Spatial leadership. Increasingly separated from the government, a lone figure.
6.1.3 Prime Minister's Department
6.1.4 Media treat as a President
6.2 Against
6.2.1 Prime Ministers are not head of state and cannot speak for whole nation
6.2.2 Important limitations on Prime Ministerial power
6.2.3 Prime Minister does not have a separate source of authority
6.2.4 'Weaker' Prime Ministers do not have a presidential image or style
7 Evidence for Presidentialism
7.1 Margaret Thatcher 1982-89
7.1.1 dominated political system 1982-89
7.1.2 dominant idealogical position
7.1.3 liberated the Falklands in 1982
7.1.4 admired abroad
7.1.5 ultimately removed by her party
7.2 Tony Blair 1997-2007
7.2.1 led New Labour
7.2.2 committed the armed forces to Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq & Afghanistan
7.2.3 Important, well respected world statesman
7.2.4 weakened the cabinet created policy personally
7.2.5 driven out of office by his party
7.2.6 lost authority after Iraq war
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