Is Cabinet Government Dead?

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Is Cabinet Government Dead? Cabinet government is a system of government in which executive power is concentrated in the cabinet, which is made up of heads of government departments, who exercise collective responsibility. Traditionally, within government the Prime Minister is ‘primus inter pares’ or ‘first among equals’ which reinsures the fact that he is a minister, not a president, of which some Prime Ministers may seem to appear. The cabinet fulfils many functions, these may have changed overtime but the principle functions include making policy decisions. Overtime, the role of the cabinet may have increasingly been seen to be less and this may have changed peoples’ perception on the system of government used in the UK. The fact that a Prime Minister can dominate parliamentary proceedings gives him/her great power, and this has been linked to the concept of an ‘elective dictatorship’. Prime Minister dominance has occurred in recent years, with the leadership styles of Thatcher and Blair being of particular significance. Blair as prime minister used bilateral meetings with ministers, to discuss important policy decisions. This led to dominance over the cabinet and Blair being seen more as a ‘President’ than a Prime Minister. During his time, Blair didn’t include the cabinet into policy decisions as much as previous leaders. This resulted in an increase in the ‘centralisation’ of power within the executive. An example includes the declaration of war with Iraq, before this decision was made, Blair didn’t gain consent from the cabinet, which shows the power he exercised. Blair also favoured the use of special advisors over his cabinet which lessened the role of the cabinet. Both Blair and Thatcher were popular, and this popularity allowed them to dominate the executive and make ‘cabinet government’ look ‘dead’. Both Prime Ministers’ had mandates from the
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