Westminster Model of British Government

Topics: United Kingdom, Political philosophy, Political science Pages: 4 (1145 words) Published: January 30, 2013
What use is the Westminster Model of British Government?

Introduction & Summary of the Westminster Model
□ Strong core executive- with a party leader, who also serves as Prime Minister, and ministers, who are chosen by the PM to form a cabinet to run the executive. □ Two-party system based on single member constituencies- parties are strong and nationalised, competing for the same issue on a nationwide scale □ Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition- referring to the political party with the second largest number of seats in the House of Commons which are invited by the monarchy to establish the Shadow Cabinet □ Parliamentary sovereignty- the belief that the legislative body is supreme above all other government institutions. There is no higher authority beyond parliament, although, theoretically, the monarch has power to dissolve parliament and the winner of the general elections seeks her permission to establish a government □ Government are held accountable through the means of elections and parliamentary oversight- which is carried out with backbench rebellions in the majority party, Select Committees scrutinising departments, parliamentary audit and the Lords revising role □ Focus on institutions- the rules, procedures and formal organisation of the government. These operate in a machinery manner, at the disposal of the parliamentary majority □ Power centralised- with policy making on a nationwide scale and relatively weak local governments □ Accountability through elections- every 4/5 years. The population hold the government accountable and local constituents hold their local MP’s accountable.

Whilst this has been the traditional view as to how British politics has operated, new theories and perspectives have challenged the assumptions made by the Westminster Model.

Yusuf- Strengths of the Model

Weaknesses of the Model
□ Some believe that the PM is becoming too powerful- it is alleged that there is a...
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