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British Prime Minister. History, Responsibilities and Facts Essay

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Updated: Nov 18th, 2021


The Prime Minister has a very important position since its creation till its last decline in a Cabinet shape of government. Uncertainly it can be said that each of the ministers are equal. However, it is the Prime Minister who assists the most and has the most power since he has the right to make other ministers leave. Prime Minister happens to be the foundation of the Cabinet curve. While he can almost be called the leader of the management, the other ministers have to work to satisfy him.

Prime Minister is the head of the majority party in the House of Commons and thus in this way he has the part of leader of the House. Because of being the leader the Prime Minister has clear constitutional rights in the House. The opinions that he gives regarding the national matters is waged due regard. It is thought that his declarations and orations are the most important means of shaping the public opinion.

The British Prime Minister has a part to play in connecting the Cabinet to the Queen. The Queen is told about each of the important decisions that are taken by the Cabinet by the Prime Minister. Now the Prime Minister occupies the responsibility of the First Lord of the reserves, and at time also some other office too, for instance that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Gladstone), War Office. The opinions of the Prime Minister happen to be quite important in foreign affairs. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs very often contacts the Prime Minister.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was the British Prime Minister from 1979 till 1984. There were not many changes in the framework of the prime minister’s office under her and it remained like it was in her precedent, Callaghan’s time. Even its size was almost the same, which was between 70 and 80 persons (King, 88). Like previously, the office was changed so as to meet the requirements and the style of the prime minister.

Thatcher did not take the advices from several observers and she established a prime minister’s department. She thought not of reframing the managerial instrument and setting up a bureaucracy institution since it would have irritated her ministers plus the departmental civil servants. According to her views, she could get the required suggestions and help through the maintenance of a free system of diverse supporters that were at various locations. Through this network she obtained the needed help and also did not alienate her political and official friends.

Nevertheless, Thatcher did bring about two significant managerial alterations outside of the prime minister’s office which changed the planning for the provision of suggestions to right at the middle of the government (King, 89). In 1981 she had the Civil Service Department abolished while the official head of the Home Civil Service, who was the under-secretary of the Civil Service Department was retired before time. The other change that Thatcher brought about was the abolishment of CPRS in the year 1983.

It was supposed that Thatcher dominated her Cabinet meetings. When talking about herself in 1979 she said that she is “a conviction politician” and “believes in the politics of persuasion”. It seemed that she was successful in pushing past pioneering rules in front of the opposing parties from her government and policy. At the time when the government was getting much support, Thatcher was able to get her way.

Nevertheless, the opposite was true when that back up became less like was the case on several occurrences between some elections. Apart from this Thatcher also employed lesser of the formal cabinet Committee system as compared to the former prime ministers and this fact indicated her dominance over her government.

There have been certain observations regarding the British Prime Minister becoming “presidential”. At the time of the 1980s, the expansion had been connected to Margaret Thatcher’s time as the prime minister. It is said that Thatcher made policies on the hoof. The number, documentation, and the time of Cabinet meetings were decreased during her time. Actually, in 1989 the cost of the prime minister’s department was greater than that required by the Queen’s house. Due to Thatcher’s seemingly power of government, the interest in the conventional discussion between the power of prime minister and the Cabinet power was revived.

At the time of the late 1980s, the political observers frequently argued about the fact that the prime minister had come to power through the Cabinet; in fact, at its expense. There is an argument that a transition has taken place from Cabinet government to Prime Ministerial government that took place due to two factors. Number one, the development of the party system was such that the party instrument was centralised with the Prime Minister having the authority.

The second factor was that the civil service has increased a lot and thus the Cabinet cannot control it. For this reason the Prime Minister has the responsibility of controlling it. The lately progress that has taken place indicates that the United Kingdom has taken on a prime minister government. As an example, the Prime Ministers are more and more getting concerned with the economic and foreign affairs.

John Major

John Major as the Prime Minister was more of counselling and collegial as compared to Margaret Thatcher. This was a reflection of his attitude plus a response the preceding Prime Minister. Major heard out others and also attempted seeking truly cooperative decisions. However, although unsurprisingly, this led to rising of criticisms through which he was accused of never giving an affirmative lead and also hanging on for along to discredited ministers, such as, Normal Lamont and David Mellor (Jones & Kavanagh, 181). Initially it seemed like after Thatcher there was a requirement of a kind of relaxed attitude by the Conservatives and the nation itself. However, with the passage of time more criticism were levelled at Major and this was particularly following the exit from the ERM.

Following the 1992 election Major was not in a good position. Sometimes he happened to be in a parliamentary minority which was the hardly the case with Thatcher. His public position was made to diminish because of the divisions and it also led to criticisms from the media which had a bad effect on his government.

However, it was during the time when Major was the prime minister that the British economy revived after being in recession between 1990 and 1992. Resultantly, the Conservatives talked about Tony Blair’s government obtaining a “golden legacy” in 1997. From the year 1992 ahead both the parties ran the longest era of economic expansion in the history of Britain.

Tony Blair

Tony Blair was from the Labour Party. He turned out to be crucial leader since he improved his party and also centralised it (Jones & Kavanagh, 181). Blair’s personal impression reflects through the decisions he made for importing his press secretary and also for several other personal staff into Downing Street. For having a strong management this Prime Minister considerably raised the number of staff in the Downing Street.

Blair brought about centralisation of policy making. He did this through structurally changing the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Office (Seldon, 80). For this purpose Blair increased the number of special advisers, strengthened the part that the prime minister’s office had in the management of media and policy making, and also brought out a prime minister’s department which was called the Cabinet Office.

Little before the Labour Party rose to power there had been six special advisors were employed in the office of the prime minister. In the aftermath of the election victory of the Labour Party the number rose and by December 1999 it had reached to twenty-five (Seldon, 80). Majority of the advisors had been employed in the Policy Directorate which indicated the fact that there were non-civil servants in the department.

During Blair’s time the Cabinet Office contained the normal secretariats: economic and domestic, European, defence, foreign, and intelligence. They have been inclined to concentrate on the exciting tactic unites while disregarding the long term work of the Cabinet Office. Although there were allegations concerning the “death of cabinet” (Seldon, 84), these were untrue and the Cabinet Office Secretariat kept on performing its conventional cooperating part.

Apart from in the Thatcher’s rule, the “presidentialism” idea was also present in Blair’s premiership. Blair’s presidential style of government is visible in the resignations of government ministers, especially those that occurred at the time of the way in Iraq; and also the Prime Minister’s systemic speech concerning the War on Terrorism.

Gordon Brown

The present Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is Gordon Brown, and he took up the duty on the 27th of June, 2007. He is from the Labour Party. Brown has petitioned for some trivial reframing of authority in the government, indicating the shift of many important responsibilities of prime minister, plus the providing of certain parliamentary responsibilities to the people.

Brown’s time as the prime minister can be called a mixed fortune. Since his getting elected as the prime minister, Brown has not been indicating any kind of shift in the major regions of his precedent’s social policy, neither any kind of major disaffiliation from New Labour. Nevertheless, Brown has suggested another kind of government than the one of Blair’s that was very much disapproved of for having a “presidential” style.

Brown has suggested certain policy proposals and it is anticipated that he would propose more later on. Although Brown has not clearly mentioned his policies, he has indicated his government having certain factors such as sleaze busting package, environment, constitutional reform, housing, health and foreign policy. Brown would also like the Parliament gaining the privilege of ratifying agreements and also having more control concerning the intelligence services.

Work Cited

Jones, Bill, and Dennis Kavanagh. British Politics Today. 7th ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.

King, Anthony. The British Prime Minister. 2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1985.

Seldon, Anthony. Blair’s Britain, 1997-2007. 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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