My study blog

Cabinet essay

Posted by lednum on November 9, 2006

This essay will critically examine the view that Prime Ministerial Government has replaced the Cabinet Government.

The Cabinet maintains numerous ministers such as the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Chancellor of Exchequer, Leader of The House of Commons and The Secretary of State For Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs.  Government Cabinets meet every Thursday morning ath the Cabinet Room which was previously referred to as the Cabinet Chamber.  This displays the attributes of the Cabinet which are significant when examining whether or not the Prime Ministerial Government had replaced the Cabinet Government.

In order to analyse the view that the Cabinet Government has been replaced by the Prime Ministerial Government , the role of the Cabinet will have to be addressed.  It is apparent that it is the Cabinet who declares when major policy decisions should be implemented.  Despite this, care must be taken by the Cabinet when introducing legislative changes to Parliament as it can affect the popularity of the Government.In addition to this, the Cabinet must place issues in legislative priorities , make decisions on unforeseen major problems and arbitrates in disputes between Government departments.  The points above show that the Cabinet still maintains numerous and significant roles in the Government.

However, on the other hand it can be displayed that the Prime Ministerial Government has become to influencial.  For instance, the Prime Minister has the ability to appoint members to the Cabinet within the Executive Branch.  Therefore the Prime Minster can decide which politicians to include in the Cabinet and subsequently which to demote or promote.  In recent events Jack Straw was demoted to the Leader of The House of Commons to be replaced by Margarett Beckett as the new Secretary of State For Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.  This conveys the power held by the Ministerial Government.

Furthermore, the relationship the Prime Minster maintains with his Cabinet has deteriorated.  For example, the concept of the ’ first among equals ‘ is now non existent as many claim that the British Government should be labelled the Prime Ministerial Government to indicate where the decisive policy making power usually lies.  It has further been documented that Tony Blair has adopted presidential qualities which clearly exclude the Cabinet from decision making.  In some ways, the issues above suggest that the Prime Ministerial Government has replaced the Cabinet Government.

In addition to the prior points, it is evident that Tony Blair’s understanding of his Cabinet has worsened.  Complaints have been made by senoir ministers displaying that they feel on the outside and not involved in the collective decision making procedure.  For instance, the decisions taken into the Iraq War and the July Bombing in London did not involve the Cabinet.  Moreover, Tony Blair’s special advisers seem to influence decision more than that of the Cabinet Government.  Despite the fact that special advisers are not elected it is apparent that they do hold substantial power.  The prior evidence contends that the Prime Ministerial Government has replaced the Cabinet Government.

In conjunction, a final topic which has to be appreciated when analysing the view that the Prime Ministerial Government has replaced the Cabinet Government is as follows.  The concept of ‘ collective responsibility ‘ displays a united front within the Cabinet even if this is not the case.  Furthermore, Tony Blair uses Bilateral meetings to his advantage to attain an overview of all the Government Departments.  Therefore, the evidence above ultimately suggests that the Cabinet Government has been overthrown by the Prime Ministerial Government.

Although Cabinet plays an important role within Government such as implementing major policy decisions, the Prime Minister is becoming too powerful as he can appoint, promote and demote ministers in the Cabinet.  It is evident that Tony Blair has made major decisions despite Cabinet misgivings. 


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