As government and Politics



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In 2010, Gordon Brown has come to the end of the 5 years period since the last election and was forced to call a General Election. Labour then lose the election but this left no part with a majority in the House of Commons. The Conservatives were the biggest party but were still short of an overall majority by 19 seats.
This left the UK with no stable government and the Conservative and Labour with difficult questions could either of them gain the confidence of the Commons to be able to form a Government.
Convention dictates that a Prime Minister can only lose their job if they resign. Upon their resignation they must the advise the Monarch on whom they recommend would be best able to gain the confidence of the Commons in able to put forward a programme of Government.
David Cameron’s Conservatives could form a minority Government and rule with the help and support of the smaller parties; however these administrations are normally unstable. In February 1974, Harold Wilson won the election but failed to win the election outright, he lead a minority government for 6 months before calling a fresh election where he won a slim majority.
The Conservatives other option was to form a formal Coalition with another party and go in to Government as partners. This they did do with the Liberal Democratic. This means that the Coalition Government has a Majority of 78 members.
On the next page is a Flow diagram showing the process of how governments are formed after elections.

Source: Neil McNaughton’s Edexcel Government and Politics for AS 3rd Ed.



The Executive
The executive is the branch of government that is responsible for the implementation of laws and policies pass by parliament
It’s role goes wider than this. It is the source of political leadership in the country and controls the ‘agenda’ of politics. It ‘governs’ the country, responding to domestic and international crises.
There are two parts to the Executive:


  1. The political executive: the government. It comprises the ministers and it directs and co-ordinates the policy of the government.

  2. 2. The official executive: the bureaucracy. This Composed of the civil service, and employees of government agencies such as the Prison Service, who offer advice to the government and carry out the policies which have been decided.

The ‘Political’ executive has two elements: The Prime Minister and the Cabinet. These are closely linked but are quite distinct. There continues to be a large amount of controversy about their roles and their relationship.

First Day of School – The Prefects meet the new boys of the Government.


Once a party has enough members of parliament to command the confidence of the Commons, the leader is summoned the Palace where the Monarch will ask its leader to form a Government in their name. At this point that person becomes the Prime Minister.

After the leader becomes Prime Minister, they will the select the most senior members of their party to form the Cabinet and become Secretary of State for the Different government departments.


They will then appoint other members of the party to help fill the Government roles. There are 5 different levels of members of the Government these are explained on the next page.
The Different Members of Government


Level

Type of Members

Typical numbers

Role

1

Prime Minister

1

Is the Head of the Government in the UK. Leader of the biggest party in the house of Commons.

He Chairs the Cabinet meetings and appoints all the Ministers.

Appoint by the Queen.


2


Cabinet Minister

23

These are the traditional heads of each of the Government Departments. They are the most senior and important members of the Largest Party in Westminster’s. Some of the members of the Cabinet are known as members without Profiles.

Cabinet Minsters are from both of the Houses of Parliament.

These are collectedly known as the Executive with in Politics. Officially they are a Subcommittee of the Privy Council (The board that advises the King or Queen on the course of action of state)

These are known as Secretaries of State and are the ultimate source of power and policy.



3



Senior Non- Cabinet Posts


15

These are holders of other less important governmental departments. They can occasionally attended Cabinet when a subject in their brief is been discussed.

4


Junior Ministers not in Cabinet


60

These are the deputies of the Cabinet minsters. They work in specific areas in the Secretary of States brief. Most are known or addressed as “Ministers of State”

5



Whips

17

The “Chief Whip” is a Cabinet position; all the other whips act as their deputies. Whips have the job of ensuring party loyalty in both the houses of parliament and ensuring Government business is passed. They have the job of discipline Mp and Peers, running administration of debates and votes.

Note. That under the Coalition that there is a requirement for both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to form parts of the different levels of government., out of the 650 seats in Westminster the Coalition control 363 (306 conservative and 57 Liberal Democrats).






Conservatives

Liberal Democrats

Lib Vs Tory as %

As % in total mps (650)

Total

Tory

Lib

Coal

Number of MP’s

306

57

15.7

47

8.8

55.8

363

Number of Ministers

98

21

17.6

15.1

3

18.3

119

% of Minister to MP’s (in own party)

32

36.8

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

32.8

Number of Cabinet Ministers

18 (22 in attendance)

5

21.7

2.8

0.8

3.5

23

% of Cabinet Minister to minister

18.4

23.8

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

19.3

% of Cabinet Minister to MP’s

5.9

8.8

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

6.3



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