Are British Prime Ministers as Powerful as Is Sometimes Claimed, [40]

1210 Words Apr 27th, 2016 5 Pages
Are British Prime ministers as powerful as is sometimes claimed?
[40]

It is often argued that in this day and age, Prime ministers are almost untouchable within the British political system, due to the shear number of powers that the Prime minister holds, and the prerogatives that he utilises. However, due to a handful of checks and balances on the government, and the Prime minister not being separated from the political system, which means he or she is liable to these checks and limitations, the Prime minister may therefore not be perceived as all that powerful.

As previously mentioned, the Prime minister enjoys a collection of powers within the UK political system. Firstly, the prime minister has this huge amount of power due to
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This meant that he did not have a majority in the House of Commons so would therefore have to try and change his policies in order to gain the support of the other leading parties. In some ways, this was more suited to Cameron than most, due to his quite pragmatic style of leadership.

Many argue that British prime ministers are surely as powerful as is sometimes claimed, due to the way in which they can dominate a cabinet. For example, Tony Blair. With his huge landslide majority, he did not need cabinet meetings, as the decisions he made would almost definitely be supported by most in cabinet, regardless of whether he had truly discussed it with them previously. This is why Blair used something known as Sofa Politics which implied that Blair ran his government through unofficial and off the record meetings with select cabinet members. Rather than consulting whole departments, or calling full meetings with the whole cabinet.

Lastly, because of the powers that Blair had as Prime minister, he was able to appoint who he wanted to his cabinet, so he could ensure the support of his decisions as he would appoint mainly Blairites who would mostly agree with his policies. Thatcher can also be used as another example of this, as she was often criticised for surrounding herself in Thatcherites in an attempt to pass everything she put through the commons.

But contrary

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