How the coalition government has affected the role and functions of the Prime Minister and Cabinet This essay aims to explain the effects of the established coalition government on the roles and functions of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. In order to present the topic properly, the roles and functions of the Prime Minister and Cabinet before the establishment of coalition government are introduced first. Subsequently, the changes in their roles and functions are presented in context of several examples, in comparison to the previous situations before the coalition government.
Historically, the Prime Minister is head of government, chief policy maker, and party leader. The power of the Prime Minister included the appointment and the reshuffle of the Cabinet, power of dissolution, and other prerogative powers like Honor recommendations. The Cabinet was the supreme decision-making entity of the UK that combines “executive and legislative functions” (Bagehot, 1891). Normally, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet ministers exercise decision-making collectively.
However, after the establishment of the coalition government, the role and functions of the Prime Minister and Cabinet have undergone significant changes. One major change that occurs in the Prime Minister’s function is that Cabinet appointments are now the result of negotiation between the parties, compared with the previous arbitrary appointment made by the Prime Minister. Previously, the Prime Minister appointed Cabinet members and allocated portfolios to its own party members only, thus making the Cabinet completely dominated by one party. Currently, in comparison, the appointments are to be agreed between the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister (HM government, 2010a). Similarly, any changes in the allocation of portfolios between the Parliamentary Parties during the Coalition period are also to be agreed between the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. For instance, the current...
References: Boutmy, E. G. (1891). The English Constitution. Macmillan and co..
HM Government (2010a) Coalition Agreement for Stability and Reform. London: Cabinet office.
HM Government (2010b) The Coalition: our programme for government. London: Cabinet office.
Mason, R. & Hope, C. (2013) Married couples to be offered tax breaks before the next election [online]. The Telegraph. Available from:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10140080/Married-couples-to-be-offered-tax-breaks-before-the-next-election.html [Accessed 19 February 2014]
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