Essay on Power of the Prime Minister

Essay on 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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