The Executive

The Executive

The Prime Minister

  • Prime Minister: Head of the UK government, appointed by the Monarch after a general election.
  • Key Roles: Making policy decisions, representing the UK in international affairs, and leading the executive branch.
  • Head of the Ruling Party: Normally, the leader of the party with majority seats in the House of Commons becomes Prime Minister.
  • Accountability: The Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament and ultimately to the public.
  • Cabinet Selection: The PM has the power to appoint and dismiss members of the Cabinet.

The Cabinet

  • The Cabinet: A key decision-making body composed of senior members of the government.
  • Ministerial Roles: Cabinet ministers head government departments and are responsible for policy areas.
  • Cabinet Meetings: Generally held weekly, chaired by the Prime Minister to discuss and make decisions on key policy issues.
  • Collective Responsibility: Cabinet members are expected to support all decisions made by the Cabinet, even if they privately disagree with them.

Ministerial Roles

  • Government Ministers: Appointed by the PM, they manage specific areas of public policy, government functions, and public bodies.
  • Cabinet Ministers: Part of the executive branch, they hold significant public office and attend Cabinet meetings.
  • Junior Ministers: Assist Cabinet Ministers in their duties.

Departments and Civil Service

  • Government Departments: Implement government policy. Each department has a team of civil servants and is headed by a minister.
  • Civil Service: Provides administrative support to the government, implements its policies, and offers advice to ministers.
  • Impartiality: Civil servants are expected to be politically neutral and serve the government of the day.

The Monarch’s Role

  • Constitutional Monarchy: The UK’s form of government. The Monarch is the head of state, while the PM is the head of government.
  • Royal Assent: The Monarch gives formal consent to legislation.
  • Prerogative Powers: Certain powers exercised by the Monarch, such as the power to appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister. However, most of these powers are largely ceremonial.
  • The Privy Council: An advisory body to the Monarch consisting of senior politicians.