Prime Ministerial Power

351 Words2 Pages
With reference to the source, describe two limitations on prime ministerial power. (5 marks) Prime ministerial power has strengths as well as limitations. One of the limitations to prime ministerial power is that the members of cabinet may turn against the Prime Minister, as happened in 1990 to Margaret Thatcher. The cabinet’s support for the prime minister is conditional on the prime minister being popular and successful. If he is not successful or popular, he will not have the cabinet’s support, making it harder for him to control the cabinet, therefore making his job as prime minister harder. Another limitation on prime ministerial power is that the prime minister does not have power over all factors; there are many which are out of his control. When Harold MacMillan was asked what the most challenging thing about being prime minister is, he answered: ‘Events, dear boy, events’. The prime minister never knows what will happen so cannot plan for these such events. With reference to the source, and your own knowledge, explain the prime minister’s prerogative powers. (10 marks) The prime minister has formal powers, which have derived from the Royal Prerogative. These powers are also exercised by other ministers. The prime minister is able to appoint ministers and other senior figures. The key power he has is patronage, which enables the prime minister to appoint politicians who share his views, helping him in his position effectively. Patronage ensures that both ministers and the majority of backbenchers will stay loyal to the prime minister. The prime minister also has the power to manage and control the cabinet. He will chair the meetings, manage the cabinet’s agendas and discussions and decide the number and nature of cabinet committees. Since the 1950’s the number and duration of cabinet meetings has steadily decreased, now there are about 40 per year. Party
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