Is the Cabinet an Important Body?

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c) The cabinet is made up of the senior ministers in the Government in power; most of its members are heads of government departments such as Home office, Treasury, Foreign office. The cabinet members must be members of Parliament and most are drawn from the House of Commons and are appointed by the Prime Minister. The main functions of the cabinet are to discuss and decide on major issues, receiving reports on key developments and determining government business, register and ratify decisions made elsewhere in the cabinet and settling disputes between government departments. Even though the cabinet has these key roles it could be argued that the cabinet is now more of a formality and the actual powers belong to the Prime Minister suggesting that the cabinet is to a rather large extent no longer an important body. The importance of the cabinet could begin to be question right from the selection process as the Prime Minister also known as ‘primus inter pares’ which means first among equals, selects the ministers and could be dismissed at anytime as was seen in the cabinet reshuffle under Tony Blair in 2006 which saw Charles Clarke dismissed, therefore suggesting that the cabinet ministers would show some form of loyalty to the Prime minister and could be likely to support the Prime minister in order to keep their job and could have no major impact on any policy or action. The cabinet ministers’ importance is further undermined by the fact that they are bound by the principle of collective responsibility meaning that they must all take public responsibility for all policies of the government, even if they disagree privately or had nothing to do with the formulation of the policy. This suggests that the cabinet have limitations to the ability to impact the policy as if they don’t take collective responsibility are expected to resign or face rapid dismissal this could
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