Essay on The Three Key Functions of the Prime Minister

Essay on The Three Key Functions of the Prime Minister

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The Three Key Functions of the Prime Minister

The Cabinet and the post of Prime Minister date back to their
introduction in 1721. However, at that stage, the Cabinet did not
exist in its present form. Nowadays, the Prime Minister's power is
akin to that of a President. The Prime Minister's post has many
functions and purposes - after all, he is Head of State and Head of
Government. In this essay, I aim to explore three functions of the
Prime Minister.

One of the major functions of the Prime Minister concerns appointments
and dismissals. The Prime Minister has the power to appoint all
Ministers, and subsequently promotes, demotes and dismisses them,
allowing the PM the power to decide who does what in Cabinet.
Mackintosh, a political commentator, said that "The power of
appointment and dismissal is one of the chief ways a Prime Minister
keeps his control over his party", while Crossman compares the PM's
power with Stalin's treatment of his rivals. A key example of this was
in 1962, when the then-PM Harold Macmillan sacked Cabinet members
resulting in a major Cabinet reshuffle, an event which became known as
the 'Night of the Long Knives'. Furthermore, the Prime Minister
appoints the chairmen of Cabinet committees, approves the choice of
Parliamentary Private Secretaries, and approves knighthoods. The
disadvantage to this function is that dismissed ministers can oppose
the PM from the backbenches - in 1979, Margaret Thatcher did not
choose former PM Edward Heath in her first Cabinet and he remained in
the backbenches, proving to be a constant thorn in her side.

The Prime Minister is also the chief policy maker. For example, Tony...


... middle of paper ...


...eir day in committee meetings, and in a survey stated that the
most effective means of getting answers was written Parliamentary
questions followed by Commons statements by ministers. The Prime
Minister is also heavily involved in his annual party conference,
where he discusses his aims and policies. However, this year the
conference has come under criticism by the press who believe that Tony
Blair avoided controversial topics such as the Hutton Enquiry and
prevented extreme dissenters from gaining entry to the main conference
arena. Yet, despite the PM's avoidance of some issues, he is still a
mouthpiece for his party.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister carries out a number of key
functions, including the appointment of government ministers. He/she
is also the chief policy maker and the chief government spokesperson.

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