preview

Power of the Prime Minister

Satisfactory Essays
Power of the Prime Minister

In the last twenty five years England has had three Prime Ministers.

The first was Margaret Thatcher, who came into power in 1979, and

resigned in 1990. Then came John Major in 1990, and lost the vote in

1997. Tony Blair became Prime Minster in this year and has

successfully stayed in power for two full terms so far. These Prime

Ministers all have very different leadership styles. Having said this,

the radical policies of Margaret Thatcher, were still continued

through Major and Blair.

Margaret Thatcher made less use of her cabinet than her predecessors.

Detailed policy work was done in cabinet comities or bilateral

meetings with the head of a department. Cabinet meeting were begun

with the announcement of the government policy, and some issues were

also kept from her cabinet. She was accused of paying greater

attention to her advisors than her cabinet. Thatcher was able to

construct a cabinet of ideological allies, through the unwillingness

of ministers to fight back. By 1990 Thatcher had few loyal allies in

the cabinet, which led to her eventual downfall. Within weeks Thatcher

had failed to win on the first ballot of the conservative party

leadership election. Her unpopular policies, a massive division in the

cabinet and low opinion poll ratings lead to her forced resignation.

By ignoring the concerns of ministers and bypassing cabinet, she had

not strengthened her position, but weakened it. She had an innovative

leadership style. She was prepared to risk unpopularity in order to

achieve a future goal. Her goals were purely selfish and individual

therefore bared a strong imprint. Thatcher appeared to have a lot of

power within her time in office. She was able to pass through her

radical policies, of course not without opposition, but not enough to

make her take a step back.

John Major adopted a more collegiate style. Cabinet played a greater

role in the implementation of government policy. This was what had

lacked under the reign of Thatcher. Major appeared to be a weak Prime
Get Access