Power of the Prime Minister

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Power of the Prime Minister The Prime Minister is the head of government in the British Isles and is therefore supposedly the most powerful person in the Isles. The Prime Minister is appointed by the currently reigning Monarch after a general election and is, according to tradition, usually the leader of the political party which wins the most seats in the House of Commons in the aforementioned general election. The Monarch is not obliged by law to appoint the leader of this party however previous Monarchs have set a precedent by which the Monarch is expected to abide. If the King/Queen were to try and appoint anyone other than the leader of the largest party it is likely that that person would forward a motion to abolish the Monarchy. In this essay I will be looking at and assessing the power the Prime Minister possesses. I will also be examining how the power held by the Prime Minister is regulated and what measures are in place to keep a check on it. In order to understand the power that the Prime Minister holds it may be necessary to take a brief look at the history of the office of the PM. The origins of the office lie in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 whereby the Monarchy was reinstalled post-civil war. The then king William of Orange appointed a group of ministers in a cabinet to head parliament. This was the first real delegation of power by a Monarch to parliament but ultimately all key decisions were still taken by the Monarch. It was not until the time of George I that any further progress towards the establishment of a Prime Minister was made. King George did not attend cabinet meetings and so meetings were conse... ... middle of paper ... ...use of commons and also upon popular opinion in the electorate and attitudes in the party’’. -Sir Richard Wilson In theory the PM is the most powerful person in these Isles; however, there are a number of limiting factors placed upon this power. From the lowliest voter to the highest civil servant to the opposition leader everyone has a certain amount of power with which they can constrain a PM to prevent the establishment of a tyrannous dictatorship or worse. The PM’s power is a variable whilst freewill remains a constant. Bibliography: Richard Crossman, ‘The English Constitution’ (1960) Tony Benn, ‘Benn’s Ten Powers’ (1981) Michael Foley, ‘The British Presidency’ Various Contributors, ‘Transforming British Government Vol.1’ (2000) Philip Norton’s ‘Styles Of Leadership Thesis Paper’ (1987)
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