Analyse the Limitations on the Powers of the Prime Minister.

Topics: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime minister, Margaret Thatcher Pages: 2 (770 words) Published: December 6, 2012
Analyse the limitations on the powers of the prime minister.

There are limitations to the prime ministers powers, despite the prime minister role being the highest in UK politics. The prime minister still maintains many powers but one main limitation that there is, is the prime ministers’ party. Ministerial appointments require some recognition of the need for political balance and administrative competence. There is pressure from colleagues or the media to appoint certain people- all Prime Ministers at least listen to advice from senior colleagues before making appointments. The Prime Ministers ability to control the flow of business is restricted. Apart from drawing up the party manifesto, most Prime Ministers do not initiate policy- they have a small staff and most expertise and detailed information is located in individual departments

If the prime minister loses support of their party, he also indirectly loses the ability to pass bills. A good example of a party turning against their leader was when Thatcher was governing the country. A knock on effect of this would be the country will lose confidence in this party and its leader because citizens will start to believe that the lack of harmony in the party will start to reflect on the nation.

Another factor that limits a Prime Minister's power is the fact that he is seen to be publicly responsible for any major mishap that occurs during his time in power. The American President, Richard Nixon had a plaque on his desk which stated "the buck stops here". As the Prime Minister is the person in charge, the buck stops with him. When things go well, the Prime Minister can bath in the glory but the opposite is also true. As the most known member of the government, it is he that the public hold to be accountable when things go wrong. Anthony Eden was held responsible for the Suez episode in 1956; Edward Heath was seen as the person responsible for the 1974 miners’ strike when a three-day working week was...
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