Did Tony Blair effectively kill off cabinet government

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Political commentators have widely discussed the issue of Blair’s disregard for his cabinet ministers during his reign as Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, claiming that he effectively killed off cabinet government. But was the cabinet dead or was it merely sleeping? Blair created a New Labour culture with a need for ‘organisational unity’ and ‘political discipline’ by tightening the reigns of cabinet ministers. It can be said that the Labour government under Blair, moved to a more presidential government, rather than a Prime Minister working within the context of cabinet government. He was able to exercise personal control over the executive branch and carried out policy decisions as an individual rather than a collective body, with the use of a Prime Minister’s department of special advisors, enforcers and public relations accountable to and in direct service of Blair himself, and consequently, to an extent effectively killed off the use of the cabinet. Blair became increasingly seen by politicians as a ‘chief-executive’ rather than the ‘chairman of the board’. When Labour came into power in 1997 Jonathon Powell, Chief of Staff at the Prime Minister’s Office famously warned senior civil servants to expect ‘a change from a feudal system of barons to a more Napoleonic system’. Blair’s No.10 aides asserted that ‘Cabinet died years ago’, claiming they wanted to replace the department barons with a Bonapartist system’. Blair sought to centralise policy making through structural changes to the Prime Minister’s office and the Cabinet Office. From this emerged a strengthened Prime Minister’s Office in managing the media and policy making and a ‘Prime Minister’s department that will not speak its name, otherwise known as the Cabinet Office’. Some believe that Blair killed off cabinet government by effectively rendering it completely under his control and making it a
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