Essay on British PM's Power.

Essay by mirza123University, Bachelor's December 2003

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To what extent has the power of the Prime Minister increased since 1997?

1997 witnessed the success of the re-branded Labour Party into government ending 18 years of Conservative rule. Headed by Tony Blair who became the new Prime Minister the party won a huge overall majority in Parliament of 144 seats giving the Labour Party a clear advantage over its ailing opposition. The Prime Minster in the British system is head Government and Head of the Cabinet. Unlike the monarch who is head of state but lacks power, the PM is arguably, the most powerful person in the whole political system. The conventional role of the Prime Minister is to provide leadership for the government and the country it serves. As head of Government the PM can appoint and dismiss members of the government. It is his prerogative to organise and reform government and if need be the Prime Minister can request dissolution of Parliament from the monarch.

Recent events since 1997 have led critics to suggest that the PM in the UK political system has become more powerful vis-Ã -vis to his predecessors. Tony Benn has described this as " a system of personal rule in the very heart of our parliamentary democracy". This essay will explore the powers of the PM and to what extent they have increased since 1997.

To start with the growth of the PM's power the PM's private office and cabinet secretariat need to be looked at. The PM is said to have used the Policy unit more extensively since 1997 into turning his ideas into practical policies. The Policy unit monitors policy proposals from governmental departments to ensure that they are in line with the PM's overall political strategy and objectives. The unit also acts as a think tank providing the PM with...