preview

The Change in the Role of the British Prime Minister

Satisfactory Essays
The Change in the Role of the British Prime Minister

There are numerous pieces of evidence that suggest the rational role

of the British Prime Minister is becoming more presidential

Power can only be quantified or measured in relation to something. In

terms of domestic power it is perhaps appropriate to define it in

terms of ability to make more autonomous decisions. It has

historically been believed that the UK Prime minister has more

domestic power than the US president based on documented rights due to

his ability to dominate his part, legislature and to an extent, the

executive branch. He has substantial power over his party with no

clear separation of power. Something based on this belief may well be

valid but with numerous pieces of evidence that suggest the

traditional role of the British Prime Minister is becoming more

presidential and modern society adhering less to written convention,

it has become far less clear who wields the most domestic power

outside of conventional parameters.

Both the UK Prime Minister and US president are the key figures in

their countries politics. The UK Prime Minister has no formal written

role but is rather a product of convention and historical evolution.

His main powers include those of patronage, the control of the cabinet

and its agenda, and the overall direction of government policy, both

of head of government and leader of the party in power. In contrast,

the US president has an official outlined role. His formal role

involves a strategic capacity to set the nations political agenda by

exploiting such powers that the Constitution grants him.

It can be said that the British Prime Minister is becoming more

presidential in general but it has a lot to do with the style of

governing that each individual Prime Minister decides to use and more

often than not, their personality. For example, Thatcher was more

presidential, Major less so, Blair more again. The characteristics of

presidential leadership include, spatial leadership which implies the

leader is acting ‘outside’ of party politics, and developing a sense
Get Access