As government and Politics

To implement the policy plans contained in the

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To implement the policy plans contained in themanifesto

Under a normal one party Government is it tradition and convention that their programme of government will relate to their manifesto. They have a mandate to implement their promises and the House of Lords are to respect this Mandate.

As neither party were successful in winning an electoral mandate, neither party can truly say they can implement the Manifesto.

What governs the programme of government in the coalition is the Coalition agreement.

Under this agreement the two partners have agreed to hold a referendum on voting reform.

This principal has also seen the Liberal’s breaking a pre-election pledge to remove tuitions fees. They Claim that they did not have an electoral mandate to abolish fees.

To co-ordinate the activities of government and the administration

These would be based to the political ideology of the party or their manifesto pledges. The Prime Minister and key advisers will decide on the activities of Govt

They now have to take in consideration of the two parties and give time to business of both the partners in government. Most of the administration and activities of government would have been agreed upon in the Coalition agreement.

Conflict Resolution

The Prime would try and work with the different “wings” of his party. As a parties have many different people and backgrounds sometimes internal disputes can cause major problems.

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have also the need to take in to consideration of the two different parties. This means that they need to find a consensus between the widely different views of the parties’ faithful.

Political Homogeneity (political sameness)

The Prime Minister would try and ensure that the bill presented to Parliament would gain as much support as possible by doing deals with backbenchers over issues they care about.

As the two parties come from different ideologies this makes this task even harder. However it has allowed the Prime Minister to push thought a liberal agenda with the support of the Liberal Democrats.

Dependency on the House of Commons

All Prime Ministerial power comes from the Sovereignty of the House of Commons. Without their support they have no legitimate right to govern. Some PM have bullied the house of commons in to submission thought the use of the Whip system

This has not changes it has just become more difficult to manage, as the Government now relays on the support of two different parties back benchers. This in turn can lead to more government dissent.

What makes a successful minister?

Must be prepared for long working hours – must have considerable capacity for hard work (12-15 hour working day), at weekends they must look after their constituency affairs, some work may be relieved by civil servants, long hours are the norm although there is room for flexibility – Blair worked 9 till 5, Brown works 6am till 12pm, nature of the post and personality of ministers determines how hard they work.

Handling Legislation – reputations are judged on how they handle pieces of legislation and how well they defend their interests in inter-departmental battles, reputation enhanced if legislation passes smoothly and is working well, ministers with a reputation for being tough fighters for their departments tend to be promoted, if ministers proposed legislation does not pass through Parliament smoothly then they have less chance of promotion.

Public Speaking – talent for good organisation and ability to put forward a strong argument, must show a good performance in the Commons (particularly in early stages of ministerial career), an impressive speech can help make a junior minister’s reputation and a poor performance can help to break it, Junior ministers can keep in touch with specialist backbench committees to improve support.

Loyalty – must show loyalty if they are to advance their career, positions often appointed as a reward for their loyalty to the party leader. E.g. Norman Lamont was appointed as Chancellor in 1990 after playing a prominent role in John Major’s leadership campaign.

Alliances – An advantage for junior ministers to gain the backing of formal and informal groups of backbenchers, especially if these groups do not represent mainstream opinion.

Teamwork – need to build up a good working relationship with other members of their department, need to listen to civil servants and be decisive when they have heard all available options, need to be able to draw a balance between what government wants, what department wants and what other interests want

Pressures on Ministers


Expected to run their departments and to perform their constituency duties as MPs, expected to speak in public for both government and party, departmental work has increased considerable in recent years therefore they must learn to delegate.

The law

Have to understand and be able to successfully negotiate the law making process (with its numerous readings), must be done within a parliamentary session (a year), laws must be viable and efficient, e.g. the poll tax was not accepted by the public so was later repealed.


Must keep within the law and not be found ULTRAVIRES, must respect statute laws and other sources of the constitution, must recognise and respect parliamentary sovereignty and parliament’s rights and processes.


Needs to oversee their department and manage it, must manage the demands of civil servants who may be pressuring them to take a certain line (even though they are meant to be impartial – may have own agenda).


Less than 1% of a department’s work is seen by a minister, in some cases junior ministers do not even know what is going on in their own department outside their own area of work, information is rationed on a need to know basis.

Interest Groups

Constant pressure on ministers from their own party, from the opposition parties, from pressure groups, from the media and from members of the public. Disagreements within the government ranks increases pressure e.g. split between Euro sceptics and pro-Europeans in John Major’s cabinet after 1994.

Specialist knowledge

ministers are constrained by a lack of specialist knowledge, constant reshuffling of ministers prevents them from acquiring detailed knowledge and understanding of the work of their departments, not specialists in the field, no qualifications to become an MP so unlikely to have experience or knowledge about departments, usually only in certain departments for 18 months – (can’t really get a grasp about departmental issues and they rely heavily on civil servants).

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