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The Prime Minister and Cabinet

Stephen Buckley

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This introduction to the workings of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is written in light of major recent events and issues such as the war with Iraq, the Hutton Inquiry, the Butler Report, the Blair-Brown relationship, and continuing problems relating to Europe. These are presented in the context of the origins of the office of Prime Minister and the development of Cabinet government.

Key issues covered include:

  • The nature of Prime Ministerial power
  • The continuing debate surrounding the nature of the Cabinet and decision-making
  • The development and workings of the core executive
  • Changes since the 2005 general election
  • The continued impact of UK membership of the EU

This insightful volume gives readers an overview of the Blair premiership and the workings of a Labour Cabinet at a time when both are facing increased criticism and pressure.

Key Features:
  • Takes account of the impact of the 2005 general election
  • Considers issues central to the Blair government: Iraq, personal honesty, leadership manoeuvring, and the probable nature of the government Blair will leave behind him
  • Offers close analysis of Blair's 'inner court' of advisers
  • Presents an up-to-date overview of Blair's political style

Contents

Contents
List of boxes
List of tables
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. The Executive Territory - Introduction - Defining the Executive - Relations between the Executive and the Legislature - Concluding Points
2. The Cabinet: Origins, Role and Structure - Origins and History - Role and Functions of the Modern Cabinet - Size and Structure - Cabinet Ministers: How to be appointed - Cabinet Ministers: How to get sacked
3. The Cabinet: Support and Bureaucracy - Introduction - Cabinet Committees - The Cabinet Office
4. The Cabinet: Collectively Dead? - Introduction - Collective Cabinet Responsibility - The Case of Robin Cook and Clare Short - Is Cabinet Government in Decline? - Cabinet Government: Alive and Well - Concluding Points
5. The Prime Minister: Power - Introduction - Origins and History - The Role of the Prime Minister - The Powers of the Prime Minister - Checks on Prime Ministerial Power
6. The Prime Minister: Support and Bureaucracy - The Bureaucracy of the Prime Minister - The Prime Minister's Office: Policy and Government - The Prime Minister's Office: Communication and Strategy - The Prime Minster's Office: Government and Political Relations - Wider dimension of support for the Prime Minister - Case Study: Lord Birt and Blue Sky Thinking - Trends in Prime Ministerial Support - Should there be a Prime Minister's Department?
7. The Prime Minister and Style - Why is style so important? - Style as personality - Style and skill - Style in Opposition - The case of Tony Blair as Prime Minister: a 'tousled efficiency' - The case of Margaret Thatcher: not 'to be' but 'to do' - The case of John Major: the 'poor general'
8. The Prime Minister: Hail to the Chief? - Introduction - Prime Ministerial Government - Presidential Government - Comparing the Prime Minister - President or Prime Minister? The Debate
9. The Core Executive - The Core Executive: Definitions - The Core Executive: A Useful Model - The Relationship of the Key Players in the Core - How the Core Executive Works - Criticisms of the Core Executive - Concluding Points
10. Conclusion: The Prime Minister, Cabinet and Synoptic Skills - Synoptic Study
References
Index.

About the Author

Stephen Buckley is Head of Humanities at Barrow in Furness Sixth Form College, Cumbria and is on the NEC of the PA, with responsibility for developing IT resources.

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