The executive I
Cabinet, Prime Minister and the ‘core executive’
in British politics today
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Prime Minister and Cabinet, as key features of British government, emerged around the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. To some extent the roles of Prime Minister and Cabinet, both at the very centre of major decisions, have been in conflict. This chapter examines the executive powers of the cabinet, and discusses the aspects of size and composition, collective responsibility, and cabinet functions, among others. It lists the factors because of which the office of Prime Minister gathered much power in the twentieth century. The Prime Minister has a variety of roles to perform such as being the head of the executive, chief policy-maker, party leader, and senior UK representative. The chapter presents the contrasting working styles of various postwar Prime Ministers such as Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher. The core executive comprises a collection of policy-making units and 'actors' at the centre of government.

British politics today

The essentials

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