As government and Politics


The Prime Minister and Cabinet



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The Prime Minister and Cabinet is one of the four topics of Unit 2 exam in May / June.
In this topic we will look at the roles and responsibilities of both the Prime Minister and that of the cabinet and look at the historical exams of different types of Prime minister. We will look at the context how the Executive operates within the separation of powers.

Parody of Ali G


First Question….. What’s in a Government?


In the UK Political System the Government is formed by the most senior members of the largest political party (The Conservative/ Liberal Coalition in 2010) in the House of Commons.
It only included those members who work in the ministry’s and have responsibilities in Government business. We call these members of the executive.
As we have already seen, in the UK Constitution, all the rules of how government is formed is on an un-codified basis, this means that they are formed because of the traditions of the UK.
The Prime Minister is always the leader of the largest party within Westminster. In most cases the Prime Minister will have the majority of seats with in the House of Commons. However, as the table below shows sometimes we can and have had a minority or coalition government in the past.
Date of election Date of Formation Prime Minister Party Majority

of govt.


1945 (MPs)

5 July 1945

Clement Attlee

Labour

146




At this point, the Representation of the People Act 1948 abolished plural voting, university constituencies and the few remaining two member constituencies.




1950(MPs)

23 February 1950

Clement Attlee

Labour

5




1951 (MPs)

25 October 1951

Sir Winston Churchill
Sir Anthony Eden

Conservative

17




1955 (MPs)

26 May 1955

Sir Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan

Conservative

60




1959 (MPs)

8 October 1959

Harold Macmillan
Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Conservative

100




1964 (MPs)

15 October 1964

Harold Wilson

Labour

4




1966 (MPs)

31 March 1966

Harold Wilson

Labour

98




At this point, the Representation of the People Act 1969 gave suffrage
to the adult population over 18.





1970 (MPs)

18 June 1970

Edward Heath

Conservative

30




February 1974 (MPs)

28 February 1974

Harold Wilson

Labour (minority government)

−33

Hung Parliament

October 1974(MPs)

10 October 1974

Harold Wilson
James Callaghan

Labour

3




1979 (MPs)

3 May 1979

Margaret Thatcher

Conservative

43




1983 (MPs)

9 June 1983

Margaret Thatcher

Conservative

144




1987 (MPs)

11 June 1987

Margaret Thatcher
John Major

Conservative

102




1992 (MPs)

9 April 1992

John Major

Conservative

21




1997 (MPs)

1 May 1997

Tony Blair

Labour

179




2001 (MPs)

7 June 2001

Tony Blair

Labour

167




2005 (MPs)

5 May 2005

Tony Blair
Gordon Brown

Labour

66




2010 (MPs)

6 May 2011

David Cameron

Conservative (formed coalition with Liberal Democrats)

78

Hung Parliament

What Happened in 2010?


Source: BBC 2010 election Website.




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