What are the powers of the executive?
What are the prerogative powers of the executive?
Powers exercised by ministers in the name of he monarch- without parliaments consent. For instance- Agreeing to treaties International diplomacy Deployment of armed forces Patronage powers.
Examples of prerogative powers:
1) Agreeing to treaties
2) International diplomacy
3) Deployment of armed forces
4) Patronage powers
1) the Paris agreement (2015)- agreed to keep global temp at about 2 degrees
2) negotiations on the UK’s departure from the EU with Michel Bamier
3) the Falklands war(1982)
4) PM’s reshuffle of cabinet in Jan 2018
In what event does the government set out its legislative agenda?
In the queens speech at the state opening of parliament.
Why should the government find it relatively straight forward to pass its bills?
Typically has a majority in the H.o.C
Tendency for tight party discipline in the H.o.C
Fusion of powers
Controls most of parliamentary agenda
What is secondary legislation?
A form of legislation that allows the provisions of an act of parliament to be implemented or altered by ministers, with light requiring additional primary legislation?
Why is secondary legislation controversial?
It allows for significant changes to the law to be made without the expressed consent of parliament. This hinders the ability of parliament to undertake effective scrutiny.
What is collective responsibility?
Constitutional convention that means the gov’ is collectively responsible to Parliament. The survival of the executive nests on sustaining the confidence of the House of Commons.
Give 2 more features of collective responsibility
Monsters are collectively responsible fo all government policies, meaning minsters must publicly support all decisions or offer their resignation.
Cabinet business must be kept confidential, allowing for the gov’ to present a united front.
How can one argue that collective responsibility enhances the power of the PM?
They won’t experience open dissent from those within gov’, so to also provide a united front. The pay role vote also means that the gov’ will have larger support in Parliament and government.
Also, if an MP is critiquing the government they can be brought into government as a minister to kept the silent.
Explain 2 recent occasions when collective responsibility has been suspended?
2010-15 coalition: ministers were only bound by coalition agreement- due to political realities.
The 2016 brexit referendum.
What is individual ministerial responsibility?
Each minister is individually responsible for matters that affect his or her department separately.
They are also responsible for:
-there own performance as a minister
-conduct as an individual.
What are the principles of individual ministerial responsibility?
Minsters must be accountable to parliament for policies and decisions made by their department.
What are some key examples of individual ministerial responsibility?
Andrew Mitchell 2012- resigned after allegedly insulting police outside Downing Street.
Amber Rudd April 2018- resigned after she had stated that there were no targets for removal but a leak to the guardian of a home office memo saying they had set a target of achieving 12,800 deportations in 2017-18 meant that she had to resign.
What are the theories of executive power?
Traditional view- of the cabinet government. Believe executive power is vested collectively in cabinet.
More Modern view (post 1945)- of primeministerial gov’. Believe the PM had become dominant actor in the UK gov’ and is able to bypass the cabinet. No longer primes inter pares
What other features of the traditional view are there?
Cabinet makes all the major decisions
PM is ‘primes inter pares’, all minsters are equal and the PM is essentially the chairman.
What evidence is there for supporting the traditional view?
Thatcher was ultimately undone by her cabinet.
Thatcher was a eurosceptic but her cabinet were mainly eurofiles. Led to Geoffrey Howes resignation speech tarnished the authority of the PM and she resigned 3 weeks later.
What evidence is there for the support of the more modern view of the executive?
Bilateral meetings- ‘sofa style’ government, a more relaxed style of leadership. PM would bring in relevant minister/s on certain topics/issues.
Special advisors- thatcher had Alan Walters. Blair had Gordon Brown.
Fewer/shorter cabinet meetings
What is the most recent theory of executive power?
The idea that PM’s are increasingly resembling presidents. Not only does PM dominate the cabinet, but has status akin to Shad of state.
What evidence is there of presidentialism?
Personalisation of politics. Through the media- May and Corbin- 2017
Personal mandates- thatcher and Blair- voted in as an individual rather that party.
Increase of machinery of government.
How has the 2018 T.May reshuffle presented her as weak and stable.
The reshuffle was less extensive than previously imagined- Justine Greening(education secretary) resigned Jeremy hunt (health secretary) persuaded May to let him stay in his job. Minsters holding most senior positions kept them- e.g- chancellor Phillip Hammond, foreign sec- boris Johnson
Factors that PM considers when choosing their cabinet.
Experience Knowledge of that brief Reputation, achievements- positive public image. Loyalty- political allies Connections Competence
What does it mean When the PM looks at expertise for minster recruitment? Give an example.
Looks at the general ability as an administrator and communicator. Can have detailed knowledge.
E.g- Gordon brown and George Osbourne- both shadow chancellors before taking over the treasury
What does it mean When the PM looks at ‘balance’ for minster recruitment? Give an example.
Maintaining party unity through appointment of MP’s with different ideological views, as well as a balance in diversity.
2016 EU ref- May gov’ appointed brexiteers (boris Johnson, Liam Fox) and remainers (Phillip Hammond, Amber Rudd)
Tony Blair appointing Margaret Becketta s foreign secretary 2006- first woman.
May and Cameron appointing Sajid Javid.
What does it mean When the PM looks at ‘allies’ for minster recruitment? Give an example.
Bringing in certain MP’s into the cabinet as a reward for loyalty or in order to silence rivals.
Blair making John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister. Prescott was really old labour.
Blair also appointed brown.
What does it mean When the PM looks at ‘adversaries’ for minster recruitment? Give an example.
Silencing rivals by bringing them into the cabinet.
May bringing Boris Johnson into the cabinet
What is the relationship between the PM and their cabinet?
Power is fluid and can change.
What is an example of power of the relationship between the PM and their cabinet?
Margaret Thatcher- started off by ensuring balance in her cabinet, between the ideological differences. ‘Wets’- ‘one-nation’, not with thatcher. ‘Dries’- on board with thatcher.
However: thatcher started to alienate even er closest allies in her final years over two issues: poll tax and Europe.
What political and economic realities affect the relationship between the PM and their cabinet?
Standing within the party
Give an example of how foreign affairs can effect the relationship between the PM and the cabinet?
Thatchers standing improved greatly after the Falkland’s War (1982)- proved herself as an electoral asset.
Give an example of how standing in the party can effect the relationship between the PM and the cabinet?
John Major undermined by tensions in cabinet/party over Europe.
Give an example of how a parliamentary majority can effect the relationship between the PM and the cabinet?
Blair’s huge majority (179) gave him considerable clout and a personal mandate.
Give an example of how public perception can effect the relationship between the PM and the cabinet?
Brown undermined by ‘bottling’ general election upon becoming leader- made him seem weak an indecisive for not going through with general election.