How-Powerful-Is-the-Prime-Minister Essay

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Claudia Clifton How powerful is the prime minister? Lord Oxford once judged that, ‘The office of prime minster is what its holder chooses and is able to make of it.’ This idea is best explained by Crossman’s prime ministerial government model. This is the theory that: since the development of disciplined political parties and, certainly over the past fifty years; PMs have become more powerful and dominant because party loyalty focuses primarily on them as the leader. This is due to the PM being both the head of the civil service and leader of the largest party in the commons. However, there are also factors that constrain the amount of power a PM can wield and for over half a century there has been discussion over whether Britain has a ‘government by prime minister.’ This is due to the idea by some, that the PM is a ‘primus inter pares,’ first among equals. This term refers to the fact that while the PM is ‘first’ in name, he or she still remains ‘equal’ to the rest of their government. In this sense, Smith’s argument that the PM is constrained by a complex web of relationships in which he must function applies, this is also known as the Cabinet government model. However, to really examine how powerful the PM is, we must also look at the structural explanations as well as the theoretical ones. The official guidance published by the Cameron government in the form of the Cabinet Manual (2011) describes the PM as the head of government, chief adviser to the sovereign and chair of the cabinet. The PM is thus responsible for appointing and dismissing, promoting and demoting all government ministers, orchestrating the cabinet committee system, and the overall organisation of the executive and the allocation of functions between ministers and departments. The manual describes the cabinet as ‘the ultimate decision making body of government,’ while the PM is said to have a
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