Powers of of the prime minister and cabinet
- The prime minister and cabinet hold executive authority, including initiating and deciding on policy.
- They are the main decision-making body of the UK government, performing both collective and individual decision-making functions.
Power of the Prime Minister
- The Prime Minister (PM) has the power to appoint and dismiss members of the cabinet.
- The PM largely controls the cabinet agenda and has significant influence on policy decisions made within it.
- The PM also represents the UK domestically and internationally, underscored by their pivotal role in negotiations, summits, and diplomatic relations.
Role of the Cabinet
- The Cabinet is comprised of senior politicians who head government departments.
- They provide advice on strategic decisions, help push the government’s legislative agenda and represent their respective departments.
- Cabinet meetings are often where key governmental policies are debated and decided upon.
- Collective Responsibility is a key principle in the cabinet system, which states that all cabinet members must publicly support all government decisions, regardless of personal views or departmental interests.
- If a cabinet member disagrees with a decision, they must resign from their position. This upholds the unified front of the government.
- Ministerial Responsibility is another critical principle, comprising of two parts: Individual Ministerial Responsibility and Collective Ministerial Responsibility.
- Individual Ministerial Responsibility requires ministers to take responsibility for their actions and the actions of their department. Failure to uphold this can lead to ministerial resignation.
- Collective Ministerial Responsibility requires Cabinet members to publicly support all decisions made by the Cabinet, ensuring a unified government.
- The Prime Minister and Cabinet exercise certain powers known as Royal Prerogatives on behalf of the monarch. These include declaring war, negotiating treaties, and conferring honours.
- Both the Prime Minister and Cabinet are accountable to Parliament and face limitations and oversights imposed by democratic checks and balances.
- The effectiveness of their power is often contingent upon the dynamics of Parliament, the strength of their political party, public opinion, and global events.