Sir John Major, KG, CH (* März in London) ist ein britischer Politiker. James Gordon Brown (* Februar in Glasgow, Schottland) ist ein. Juli London - Am Mittwoch soll Theresa May die Amtsgeschäfte des britischen Premiers David Cameron übernehmen. Damit wäre sie Nummer
Peers, Politics and Power: House of Lords, — Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Kebbel, Thomas Edward Essays Upon History and Politics.
Chapman and Hall — via the Internet Archive. Lee, Simon; Beech, Matt, eds. Coalition Politics in an Age of Austerity. Walpole to the Younger Pitt.
Archibald Constable and Co — via the Internet Archive. An Introductory Study 2nd ed. McMullen Rigg, James Mahon, Viscount ; Cardwell, Edward , eds.
Mosley, Charles , ed. The Cambridge Modern History. Handbook of British Chronology 3rd ed. Orationes et epistolae Cantabrigienses — Robert Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury.
Schumann, Matt; Schweizer, Karl W. The Seven Years War: The End of British Party Politics? Yet the Scottish party was much more influential at Westminster: Seldon, Anthony , ed.
Shaw, William Arthur The Knights of England. Sherratt and Hughes — via the Internet Archive. Tegg — via the Internet Archive. Tout, Thomas Frederick An Advanced History of Great Britain.
Compendium of British Office Holders. Studies in Modern History. Sir Winston Churchill resigns". On This Day — Archived from the original on 2 April Retrieved 2 September Balfour, Arthur 29 March Archived from the original on 2 September Lord Palmerston, then the Leader of this House.
Archived from the original on 20 April Retrieved 30 August Bogdanor, Vernon 3 October Archived from the original on 29 April Retrieved 28 April Archived from the original on 22 February This matter was brought before the House on the 13th of May, Disraeli, who was then the Leader of the House.
Disraeli, Benjamin 8 June The noble Lord the leader of this House and First Minister of the Crown—a man eminently versed in foreign policy.
Archived from the original on 21 May Archived from the original on 20 May Retrieved 3 September It provided that the Lords could not delay for more than one month any bill certified by the Speaker of the Commons as a money bill.
Furthermore, the Act provided that any bill rejected by the Lords would nevertheless become law if passed by the Commons in three successive sessions provided that two years had elapsed since its original passage.
The Lords could still delay or suspend the enactment of legislation but could no longer veto it. Indirectly, the Act enhanced the already dominant position of Prime Minister in the constitutional hierarchy.
Although the Lords are still involved in the legislative process and the Prime Minister must still guide legislation through both Houses, the Lords no longer have the power to veto or even delay enactment of legislation passed by the Commons.
Provided that he or she controls the Cabinet, maintains party discipline, and commands a majority in the Commons, the Prime Minister is assured of putting through his or her legislative agenda.
The presidentialisation thesis rests on the Prime Minister becoming more detached from Cabinet, party and Parliament and operating as if the occupant of the office is elected directly by the people.
Thomas Poguntke and Paul Webb define it as: Mackintosh, who instead used the terminology of Prime Ministerial Government to describe the British government.
Tony Blair and the Politics of Public Leadership that are solely dedicated to the subject of presidentialisation in Britain. The British Prime Minister has to all intents and purposes turned, not into a British version of an American president, but into an authentically British president.
The thesis has been widely applied to the premiership of Tony Blair as many sources such as former ministers have suggested that decision-making was controlled by him and Gordon Brown , and the Cabinet was no longer used for decision-making.
When she resigned, Short denounced "the centralisation of power into the hands of the Prime Minister and an increasingly small number of advisers".
Being Honest About the UK Presidency that in fact the office of prime minister has presidential powers. However, the presidentialisation thesis has been extensively criticised as well.
Keith Dowding , for example, argues that British Prime Ministers are already more powerful than the American presidents, as the Prime Minister is part of the legislature, and unlike presidents, can directly initiate legislation.
The presidentialisation of the Prime Minister thesis should be expunged from political science vocabulary, to the extent that the forces identified by those who pursue the thesis exist, they do not make the British Prime Minister more like the US president.
Other academics who have criticised the thesis have pointed to the structural and constitutional differences between Britain and the United States.
These authors cite the stark differences between the British parliamentary model, with its principle of parliamentary sovereignty , and the American presidential model, which has its roots in the principle of separation of powers.
Moreover, it should also be noted that the power that a Prime Minister has over his or her Cabinet colleagues is directly proportional to the amount of support that they have with their political parties and this is often related to whether the party considers them to be an electoral asset or liability.
Additionally, when a party is divided into factions a Prime Minister may be forced to include other powerful party members in the Cabinet for party political cohesion.
The Prime Minister has weekly audiences with the Sovereign, whose rights are constitutionally limited: The Prime Minister will appoint all other cabinet members who then become active Privy Counsellors and ministers, although consulting senior ministers on their junior ministers, without any Parliamentary or other control or process over these powers.
At any time, the PM may obtain the appointment, dismissal or nominal resignation of any other minister; the PM may resign, either purely personally or with the whole government.
Although the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces is legally the Sovereign, under constitutional practice the Prime Minister can declare war, and through the Secretary of State for Defence whom the PM may appoint and dismiss, or even appoint himself or herself to the position as chair of the Defence Council the power over the deployment and disposition of British forces.
The Prime Minister makes all the most senior Crown appointments, and most others are made by Ministers over whom the PM has the power of appointment and dismissal.
Privy Counsellors , Ambassadors and High Commissioners , senior civil servants, senior military officers, members of important committees and commissions, and other officials are selected, and in most cases may be removed, by the Prime Minister.
The appointment of senior judges, while constitutionally still on the advice of the Prime Minister, is now made on the basis of recommendations from independent bodies.
Peerages, knighthoods, and most other honours are bestowed by the Sovereign only on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister appoints officials known as the "Government Whips", who negotiate for the support of MPs and to discipline dissenters.
Party discipline is strong since electors generally vote for individuals on the basis of their party affiliation.
Members of Parliament may be expelled from their party for failing to support the Government on important issues, and although this will not mean they must resign as MPs, it will usually make re-election difficult.
Members of Parliament who hold ministerial office or political privileges can expect removal for failing to support the Prime Minister.
However, even a government with a healthy majority can on occasion find itself unable to pass legislation. Formerly, a Prime Minister whose government lost a Commons vote would be regarded as fatally weakened, and the whole government would resign, usually precipitating a general election.
Likewise, a Prime Minister is no longer just "first amongst equals" in HM Government; although theoretically the Cabinet might still outvote the PM, in practice the PM progressively entrenches his or her position by retaining only personal supporters in the Cabinet.
In occasional reshuffles, the Prime Minister can sideline and simply drop from Cabinet the Members who have fallen out of favour: The Prime Minister is responsible for producing and enforcing the Ministerial Code.
By tradition, before a new Prime Minister can occupy 10 Downing Street , they are required to announce to the country and the world that they have "kissed hands" with the reigning monarch, and have thus become Prime Minister.
This is usually done by saying words to the effect of:. Throughout the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister outranks all other dignitaries except members of the Royal Family, the Lord Chancellor , and senior ecclesiastical figures.
Membership of the Council is retained for life. It is a constitutional convention that only a Privy Counsellor can be appointed Prime Minister.
Most potential candidates have already attained this status. The issue was resolved by appointing him to the Council immediately prior to his appointment as Prime Minister.
According to the now defunct Department for Constitutional Affairs , the Prime Minister is made a Privy Counsellor as a result of taking office and should be addressed by the official title prefixed by "The Right Honourable" and not by a personal name.
As "Prime Minister" is a position, not a title, the incumbent should be referred to as "the Prime Minister". The title "Prime Minister" e.
Chequers , a country house in Buckinghamshire, gifted to the government in , may be used as a country retreat for the Prime Minister.
John Major age 75 — Tony Blair age 65 — Gordon Brown age 67 — David Cameron age 52 — Upon retirement, it is customary for the Sovereign to grant a Prime Minister some honour or dignity.
The practice of creating a retired male Prime Minister a Knight of the Garter KG has been fairly prevalent since the mid—nineteenth century.
Upon the retirement of a Prime Minister who is Scottish, it is likely that the primarily Scottish honour of Knight of the Thistle KT will be used instead of the Order of the Garter, which is generally regarded as an English honour.
Historically it has also been common to grant prime ministers a peerage upon retirement from the Commons, elevating the individual to the Lords.
Formerly, the peerage bestowed was usually an earldom. From the s onward, life peerages were preferred, although in Harold Macmillan was created Earl of Stockton.
Edward Heath did not accept a peerage of any kind and nor have any of the prime ministers to retire since ; although Heath and Major were later appointed as Knights of the Garter.
Prime Minister Theresa May. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Home Secretary Sajid Javid. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Joint Ministerial Committee Legislative consent motions Scotland. Constitution of the United Kingdom. Westminster system and Cabinet of the United Kingdom.
Living prime ministers of the United Kingdom. They include the sole authority to dismiss a Prime Minister and government of the day in extremely rare and exceptional circumstances, and other essential powers such as withholding Royal Assent , and summoning and proroguing Parliament to preserve the stability of the nation.
These reserve powers can be exercised without the consent of Parliament. Reserve powers, in practice, are the court of absolute last resort in resolving situations that fundamentally threaten the security and stability of the nation as a whole and are almost never used.
Every list of Prime Ministers may omit certain politicians. For instance, unsuccessful attempts to form ministries — such as the two-day government formed by the Earl of Bath in , often dismissed as the " Silly Little Ministry " — may be included in a list or omitted, depending on the criteria selected.
This principle states that the decisions made by any one Cabinet member become the responsibility of the entire Cabinet. Lord Home was the last Prime Minister who was a hereditary peer, but, within days of attaining office, he disclaimed his peerage, abiding by the convention that the Prime Minister should sit in the House of Commons.
A junior member of his Conservative Party who had already been selected as candidate in a by-election in a staunch Conservative seat stood aside, allowing Home to contest and win the by-election, and thus procure a seat in the lower House.
Gladstone replied, "As [Disraeli] lived, so he died—all display, without reality or genuineness. As of 11 June the Lords had members excluding 49 who were on leave of absence or otherwise disqualified from sitting , compared to in the Commons.
Of these, two — Bonar Law and Ramsay MacDonald — died while still sitting in the Commons, not yet having retired; another, the Earl of Aberdeen , was appointed to both the Order of the Garter and the Order of the Thistle; yet another, Arthur Balfour , was appointed to the Order of the Garter, but represented an English constituency and may not have considered himself entirely Scottish; and of the remaining three, the Earl of Rosebery became a KG, Alec Douglas-Home became a KT, and Gordon Brown remained in the House of Commons as a backbencher until United Nations Protocol and Liaison Office.
Retrieved 28 December The Cabinet Manual 1st ed. Retrieved 24 July Prime Ministers hold office unless and until they resign. If the Prime Minister resigns on behalf of the Government, the Sovereign will invite the person who appears most likely to be able to command the confidence of the House to serve as Prime Minister and to form a government.
Retrieved 4 April Archived from the original on 14 October Retrieved 19 May Walter Bagehot, an authority on 19th-century British government, said this unity is "the efficient secret" of its constitution.
No doubt, by the traditional theory, as it exists in all the books, the goodness of our constitution consists in the entire separation of the legislative and executive authorities, but in truth its merit consists in their singular approximation.
The connecting link is the Cabinet A Cabinet is a combing committee—a hyphen which joins a buckle which fastens the legislative part of the State to the executive part of the State.
In its origin it belongs to the one, in its functions it belongs to the other. King makes the point that much of the British constitution is in fact written and that no constitution is written down in its entirety.
The distinctive feature of the British constitution, he says, is that it is not codified. He has no statutory duties as Prime Minister, his name occurs in no Acts of Parliament, and though holding the most important place in the constitutional hierarchy, he has no place which is recognized by the laws of his country.
Parliament of the United Kingdom. After the Restoration in , for example, Lord Clarendon was encouraged to assume the title of "First Minister" in the new government rather than accept a specific office.
According to the Duke of Ormonde, however, "He Clarendon could not consent to enjoy a pension out of the Exchequer under no other title or pretense but being First Minister.
We know it not before: If some of the Privy-Council men be trusted, and some not, to whom is a gentleman to apply? Must he ask, "Who is a Cabinet-Counsellor?
I am sure, these distinctions of some being more trusted than others have given great dissatisfaction. In Eccleshall, Robert; Walker, Graham.
Biographical Dictionary of British Prime Ministers. Retrieved 3 May Nowhere is there a man who has so much power with so little to show for it in the way of formal title or prerogative.
Talking Politics — Conventions of the constitution". Retrieved 2 November Sandys came yesterday to give us warning; Lord Wilmington has lent it to them.
Sir Robert might have had it for his own at first: He goes into a small house of his own in Arlington Street, opposite to where we formerly lived".
Cunningham, , I, p. British History Online, From: Whitehall II , pp. Retrieved 30 January Marriott enumerates five characteristics of modern Cabinet Government: In Blake, Robert B.
Contemporaries seemed to sense from the beginning that history was being made. After dinner the private secretary to the Prime Minister and myself being alone, I ascertained that although Lord Grey was gone to Brighton ostensibly to prick for Sheriffs for the year, his great object was to put his plan of reform before the King, previous A ticklish operation, this!
However, there is the plan all cut and dry, and the Cabinet unanimous upon it Grey is determined to fight it out to a dissolution of Parliament, if his plan is beat in the Commons.
My eye, what a crisis! Lord Rosebery, later a Prime Minister himself, said of Peel: It is more than doubtful, indeed, if it be possible in this generation, when the burdens of Empire and of office have so incalculably grown, for any Prime Minister to discharge the duties of his high office with the same thoroughness or in the same spirit as Peel.
Peel kept a strict supervision over every department: Disraeli and Victoria thought the tactic was unconstitutional.
Breakdown of Lords by party strength and type of peerage". Archived from the original on 14 May Retrieved 25 May State of the parties".
Archived from the original on 11 May The Liberal majority was actually much larger in practice because on most issues they could rely on the votes of 51 Labour and Lib-Lab representatives and 83 Irish Nationalists.
Their majority was so large and unprecedented — they had more seats than all other parties combined — that one Conservative called it a "hideous abnormality".
The Presidentialization of Politics: A Comparative Study of Modern Democracies. Advanced Government and Politics. The Rise of the British Presidency.
William Wyndham Grenville — William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck —09; 2nd time. Robert Banks Jenkinson — Frederick John Robinson — Arthur Wellesley —30; 1st time.
William Lamb ; 1st time. Arthur Wellesley ; 2nd time. Robert Peel —35; 1st time. William Lamb —41; 2nd time.
Robert Peel —46; 2nd time. John Russell —52; 1st time. Edward Geoffrey Stanley ; 1st time. Henry John Temple —58; 1st time.
Edward Geoffrey Stanley —59; 2nd time. Henry John Temple —65; 2nd time. John Russell —66; 2nd time. Edward Geoffrey Stanley —68; 3rd time.
Benjamin Disraeli ; 1st time. William Ewart Gladstone —74; 1st time. Benjamin Disraeli —80; 2nd time. William Ewart Gladstone —85; 2nd time.
Robert Cecil —86; 1st time. William Ewart Gladstone ; 3rd time.
Englische premierminister - understandIm Unterhaus hat sich Cameron immer der Parteilinie angeschlossen, auch in Bezug auf die Befürwortung des Irakkrieges. Harold Macmillan später 1. In einer solchen Situation sei Labour täglichen Erpressungen ausgeliefert und gezwungen, sich immer weiter politisch nach links zu bewegen. Theresa May opens Trump visit by attacking past foreign policy failures. Andererseits zieht er auch eine Trennungslinie zwischen Anhängern, die, wie Howe und Lawson, eher den Kernideen des Thatcherismus verpflichtet waren als der Person Thatcher selber, und denen, die sich dagegen als Thatcheristen im Sinne einer unbedingten Loyalität zur Politikerin Margaret Thatcher definierten. Portugal wm political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication inexpensive newspapers, radio, television and the internetand photography. The Treasury in Public Policy-Making. Unequivocal legal recognition was given in the Ministers of the Crown Actwhich made provision for payment of a salary to the person who is both betclic poker First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister". The premiership was a reclusive office prior to For most of the englische premierminister of the Upper House, Lords Temporal were landowners who held their estates, titles and seats as a hereditary right passed down from one generation to the next — in some cases for centuries. British governments or Ministries are generally formed by one party. Retrieved 19 May championsleague spielplan From this time, there was a growing acceptance of the aussie übersetzung of Prime Minister and the title was more commonly used, if only unofficially. Mahon, Viscount ; Cardwell, Edwardeds. The King has been graciously pleased to confer the Territorial Decoration upon the undermentioned Officers.
The position of Prime Minister was not created; it evolved slowly and erratically over three hundred years due to numerous acts of Parliament, political developments, and accidents of history.
The office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective. The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement — and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament.
By the s the Westminster system of government or cabinet government had emerged; the Prime Minister had become primus inter pares or the first among equals in the Cabinet and the head of government in the United Kingdom.
The political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication inexpensive newspapers, radio, television and the internet , and photography.
Prior to , the Prime Minister sometimes came from the House of Lords , provided that his government could form a majority in the Commons.
However as the power of the aristocracy waned during the 19th century the convention developed that the Prime Minister should always sit in the lower house.
Certain privileges, such as residency of 10 Downing Street , are accorded to Prime Ministers by virtue of their position as First Lord of the Treasury.
The status of the position as Prime Minister means that the incumbent is consistently ranked as one of the most powerful and influential people in the world.
The Prime Minister is the head of the United Kingdom government. In addition, the Prime Minister leads a major political party and generally commands a majority in the House of Commons the lower House of the legislature.
The incumbent wields both significant legislative and executive powers. Under the British system, there is a unity of powers rather than separation.
In an executive capacity, the Prime Minister appoints and may dismiss all other Cabinet members and ministers , and co-ordinates the policies and activities of all government departments, and the staff of the Civil Service.
Solely upon the advice of the Prime Minister, the Sovereign exercises many statutory and prerogative powers, including high judicial, political, official and Church of England ecclesiastical appointments; the conferral of peerages and some knighthoods, decorations and other important honours.
The British system of government is based on an uncodified constitution , meaning that it is not set out in any single document. In , Prime Minister H.
Asquith described this characteristic of the British constitution in his memoirs:. In this country we live It is true that we have on the Statute-book great instruments like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, and the Bill of Rights which define and secure many of our rights and privileges; but the great bulk of our constitutional liberties and They rest on usage, custom, convention, often of slow growth in their early stages, not always uniform, but which in the course of time received universal observance and respect.
The relationships between the Prime Minister and the Sovereign, Parliament and Cabinet are defined largely by these unwritten conventions of the constitution.
The position was first mentioned in statute only in , in the schedule of the Chequers Estate Act. Prime ministers continue to hold the position of First Lord of the Treasury and, since November , that of Minister for the Civil Service , the latter giving them authority over the civil service.
Under this arrangement, Britain might appear to have two executives: The concept of " the Crown " resolves this paradox. Before the " Glorious Revolution " of , the Sovereign exclusively wielded the powers of the Crown; afterwards, Parliament gradually forced monarchs to assume a neutral political position.
Parliament has effectively dispersed the powers of the Crown, entrusting its authority to responsible ministers the Prime Minister and Cabinet , accountable for their policies and actions to Parliament, in particular the elected House of Commons.
Because the Premiership was not intentionally created, there is no exact date when its evolution began. A meaningful starting point, however, is —89 when James II fled England and the Parliament of England confirmed William and Mary as joint constitutional monarchs, enacting legislation that limited their authority and that of their successors: They also provided the basis for the evolution of the office of Prime Minister, which did not exist at that time.
The Revolutionary Settlement gave the Commons control over finances and legislation and changed the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.
For want of money, Sovereigns had to summon Parliament annually and could no longer dissolve or prorogue it without its advice and consent.
Parliament became a permanent feature of political life. Treasury officials and other department heads were drawn into Parliament serving as liaisons between it and the Sovereign.
This is the beginning of "unity of powers": Today the Prime Minister First Lord of the Treasury , the Chancellor of the Exchequer responsible for The Budget and other senior members of the Cabinet sit on the Treasury bench and present policies in much the same way Ministers did late in the 17th century.
Empowering Ministers with sole financial initiative had an immediate and lasting impact. Apart from achieving its intended purpose — to stabilise the budgetary process — it gave the Crown a leadership role in the Commons; and, the Lord Treasurer assumed a leading position among Ministers.
The power of financial initiative was not, however, absolute. Only Ministers might initiate money bills, but Parliament now reviewed and consented to them.
Standing Order 66 therefore represents the beginnings of Ministerial responsibility and accountability. The term "Prime Minister" appears at this time as an unofficial title for the leader of the government, usually the Head of the Treasury.
Political parties first appeared during the Exclusion Crisis of — The Whigs , who believed in limited monarchy , wanted to exclude James Stuart from succeeding to the throne because he was a Catholic.
Political parties were not well organised or disciplined in the 17th century. They were more like factions with "members" drifting in and out, collaborating temporarily on issues when it was to their advantage, then disbanding when it was not.
This idea lingered throughout the 18th century. Nevertheless it became possible at the end of the 17th century to identify Parliaments and Ministries as being either "Whig" or "Tory" in composition.
The modern Prime Minister is also the leader of the Cabinet. A convention of the constitution, the modern Cabinet is a group of ministers who formulate policies.
Although the modern Prime Minister selects Ministers, appointment still rests with the Sovereign. The term "Cabinet" first appears after the Revolutionary Settlement to describe those ministers who conferred privately with the Sovereign.
However, it might also include individuals who were not members of Parliament such as household officers e. The exclusion of non-members of Parliament from the Cabinet was essential to the development of ministerial accountability and responsibility.
Both William and Anne appointed and dismissed Cabinet members, attended meetings, made decisions, and followed up on actions. This process began after the Hanoverian Succession.
Although George I — attended Cabinet meetings at first, after he withdrew because he did not speak fluent English and was bored with the discussions.
George II — occasionally presided at Cabinet meetings but his grandson, George III — , is known to have attended only two during his year reign.
Thus, the convention that Sovereigns do not attend Cabinet meetings was established primarily through royal indifference to the everyday tasks of governance.
The Prime Minister became responsible for calling meetings, presiding, taking notes, and reporting to the Sovereign. These simple executive tasks naturally gave the Prime Minister ascendancy over his Cabinet colleagues.
Although the first three Hanoverians rarely attended Cabinet meetings they insisted on their prerogatives to appoint and dismiss ministers and to direct policy even if from outside the Cabinet.
It was not until late in the 18th century that Prime Ministers gained control over Cabinet composition see section Emergence of Cabinet Government below.
British governments or Ministries are generally formed by one party. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are usually all members of the same political party, almost always the one that has a majority of seats in the House of Commons.
Coalition governments a ministry that consists of representatives from two or more parties and minority governments a one-party ministry formed by a party that does not command a majority in the Commons were relatively rare before the election, since there has been both a coalition and minority government.
William thought this composition would dilute the power of any one party and also give him the benefit of differing points of view.
However, this approach did not work well because the members could not agree on a leader or on policies, and often worked at odds with each other.
In , William formed a homogeneous Whig ministry. Known as the Junto , this government is often cited as the first true Cabinet because its members were all Whigs, reflecting the majority composition of the Commons.
Anne — followed this pattern but preferred Tory Cabinets. This approach worked well as long as Parliament was also predominantly Tory.
However, in , when the Whigs obtained a majority, Anne did not call on them to form a government, refusing to accept the idea that politicians could force themselves on her merely because their party had a majority.
Anne preferred to retain a minority government rather than be dictated to by Parliament. Consequently, her chief ministers Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin and Robert Harley , who were called "Prime Minister" by some, had difficulty executing policy in the face of a hostile Parliament.
Nevertheless, it was not until the s that the constitutional convention was established that the Sovereign must select the Prime Minister and Cabinet from the party whose views reflect those of the majority in Parliament.
Since then, most ministries have reflected this one party rule. Despite the "one party" convention, prime ministers may still be called upon to lead either minority or coalition governments.
A minority government may be formed as a result of a " hung parliament " in which no single party commands a majority in the House of Commons after a general election or the death, resignation or defection of existing members.
By convention the serving Prime Minister is given the first opportunity to reach agreements that will allow them to survive a vote of confidence in the House and continue to govern.
The last minority government was led by Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson for eight months after the February general election produced a hung parliament.
In the October general election , the Labour Party gained 18 seats, giving Wilson a majority of three. A hung parliament may also lead to the formation of a coalition government in which two or more parties negotiate a joint programme to command a majority in the Commons.
Coalitions have also been formed during times of national crisis such as war. Under such circumstances, the parties agree to temporarily set aside their political differences and to unite to face the national crisis.
When the general election of produced a hung parliament, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties agreed to form the Cameron—Clegg coalition , the first coalition in seventy years.
The Premiership is still largely a convention of the constitution; its legal authority is derived primarily from the fact that the Prime Minister is also First Lord of the Treasury.
The connection of these two offices — one a convention, the other a legal office — began with the Hanoverian Succession in When George I succeeded to the British throne in , his German ministers advised him to leave the office of Lord High Treasurer vacant because those who had held it in recent years had grown overly powerful, in effect, replacing the Sovereign as head of the government.
They also feared that a Lord High Treasurer would undermine their own influence with the new King. They therefore suggested that he place the office in "commission", meaning that a committee of five ministers would perform its functions together.
Theoretically, this dilution of authority would prevent any one of them from presuming to be the head of the government.
No one has been appointed Lord High Treasurer since ; it has remained in commission for three hundred years. The Treasury Commission ceased to meet late in the 18th century but has survived, albeit with very different functions: Since the office evolved rather than being instantly created, it may not be totally clear-cut who the first prime minister was.
However, this appellation is traditionally given to Sir Robert Walpole , who became First Lord of the Treasury in In , the South Sea Company , created to trade in cotton, agricultural goods and slaves, collapsed, causing the financial ruin of thousands of investors and heavy losses for many others, including members of the royal family.
King George I called on Robert Walpole, well known for his political and financial acumen, to handle the emergency.
With considerable skill and some luck, Walpole acted quickly to restore public credit and confidence, and led the country out of the crisis.
A year later, the king appointed him First Lord of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Leader of the House of Commons — making him the most powerful minister in the government.
Ruthless, crude, and hard-working, he had a "sagacious business sense" and was a superb manager of men. Walpole demonstrated for the first time how a chief minister — a prime minister — could be the actual head of the government under the new constitutional framework.
Third, recognising that the Cabinet had become the executive and must be united, he dominated the other members and demanded their complete support for his policies.
Fourth, recognising that political parties were the source of ministerial strength, he led the Whig party and maintained discipline. In the Commons, he insisted on the support of all Whig members, especially those who held office.
Finally, he set an example for future Prime Ministers by resigning his offices in after a vote of confidence , which he won by just three votes.
The slimness of this majority undermined his power, even though he still retained the confidence of the Sovereign. For all his contributions, Walpole was not a prime minister in the modern sense.
The king — not Parliament — chose him; and the king — not Walpole — chose the Cabinet. Walpole set an example, not a precedent, and few followed his example.
In some cases, the prime minister was a figurehead with power being wielded by other individuals; in others there was a reversion to the "chief minister" model of earlier times in which the sovereign actually governed.
For these reasons, there was a reluctance to use the title. Although Walpole is now called the "first" prime minister, the title was not commonly used during his tenure.
Walpole himself denied it. In his defence, Walpole said "I unequivocally deny that I am sole or Prime Minister and that to my influence and direction all the affairs of government must be attributed".
In , for example, one member of the Commons said, "the Constitution abhors the idea of a prime minister". In , Lord Lansdowne said, "nothing could be more mischievous or unconstitutional than to recognise by act of parliament the existence of such an office".
By the turn of the 20th century the premiership had become, by convention, the most important position in the constitutional hierarchy. Yet there were no legal documents describing its powers or acknowledging its existence.
The first official recognition given to the office had only been in the Treaty of Berlin in , when Disraeli signed as "First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister of her Britannic Majesty".
As late as , Arthur Balfour explained the status of his office in a speech at Haddington: He has no statutory duties as Prime Minister, his name occurs in no Acts of Parliament, and though holding the most important place in the constitutional hierarchy, he has no place which is recognised by the laws of his country.
This is a strange paradox. In the position was given some official recognition when the "Prime Minister" was named in the order of precedence , outranked, among non-royals, only by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York , the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Lord Chancellor.
The first Act of Parliament to mention the premiership — albeit in a schedule — was the Chequers Estate Act on 20 December Unequivocal legal recognition was given in the Ministers of the Crown Act , which made provision for payment of a salary to the person who is both "the First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister".
Despite the reluctance to legally recognise the Premiership, ambivalence toward it waned in the s. During the first 20 years of his reign, George III — tried to be his own "prime minister" by controlling policy from outside the Cabinet, appointing and dismissing ministers, meeting privately with individual ministers, and giving them instructions.
Rockingham assumed the Premiership "on the distinct understanding that measures were to be changed as well as men; and that the measures for which the new ministry required the royal consent were the measures which they, while in opposition, had advocated.
From this time, there was a growing acceptance of the position of Prime Minister and the title was more commonly used, if only unofficially.
Lord North, for example, who had said the office was "unknown to the constitution", reversed himself in when he said, "In this country some one man or some body of men like a Cabinet should govern the whole and direct every measure.
For the next 17 years until and again from to , Pitt, the Tory, was Prime Minister in the same sense that Walpole, the Whig, had been earlier.
Their conversion was reinforced after In that year, George III, who had suffered periodically from mental instability possibly due to a blood disorder now known as porphyria , became permanently insane and spent the remaining 10 years of his life unable to discharge his duties.
The Prince Regent was prevented from using the full powers of Kingship. The Regent became George IV in , but during his year reign was indolent and frivolous.
Consequently, for 20 years the throne was virtually vacant and Tory Cabinets led by Tory Prime Ministers filled the void, governing virtually on their own.
The Tories were in power for almost 50 years, except for a Whig ministry from to Lord Liverpool was Prime Minister for 15 years; he and Pitt held the position for 34 years.
Under their long, consistent leadership, Cabinet government became a convention of the constitution. Although subtle issues remained to be settled, the Cabinet system of government is essentially the same today as it was in She selects as her Prime Minister the person who is able to command a working majority in the House of Commons, and invites him or her to form a government.
As the actual Head of Government , the Prime Minister selects his Cabinet, choosing its members from among those in Parliament who agree or generally agree with his intended policies.
He then recommends them to the Sovereign who confirms his selections by formally appointing them to their offices. Led by the Prime Minister, the Cabinet is collectively responsible for whatever the government does.
The Sovereign does not confer with members privately about policy, nor attend Cabinet meetings. With respect to actual governance, the monarch has only three constitutional rights: The modern British system includes not only a government formed by the majority party or coalition of parties in the House of Commons but also an organised and open opposition formed by those who are not members of the governing party.
Seated in the front, directly across from the ministers on the Treasury Bench, the leaders of the opposition form a "Shadow Government", complete with a salaried "Shadow Prime Minister", the Leader of the Opposition , ready to assume office if the government falls or loses the next election.
During the 18th century this idea waned and finally disappeared as the two party system developed. In , Broughton, a Whig, announced in the Commons that he opposed the report of a Bill.
Sometimes rendered as the " Loyal Opposition ", it acknowledges the legitimate existence of the two party system, and describes an important constitutional concept: Informally recognized for over a century as a convention of the constitution, the position of Leader of the Opposition was given statutory recognition in by the Ministers of the Crown Act.
British prime ministers have never been elected directly by the public. A prime minister need not be a party leader; David Lloyd George was not a party leader during his service as prime Minister during World War I, and neither was Ramsay MacDonald from to Since , most prime ministers have been members of the Commons; since , all have had a seat there.
He became Prime Minister because in he was elected Labour Party leader and then led the party to victory in the general election , winning seats compared to for the Conservatives and gaining a majority in the House of Commons.
Neither the Sovereign nor the House of Lords had any meaningful influence over who was elected to the Commons in or in deciding whether or not Blair would become Prime Minister.
Their detachment from the electoral process and the selection of the Prime Minister has been a convention of the constitution for almost years.
Prior to the 19th century, however, they had significant influence, using to their advantage the fact that most citizens were disenfranchised and seats in the Commons were allocated disproportionately.
In , Charles Grey , the 2nd Earl Grey and a life-long Whig, became Prime Minister and was determined to reform the electoral system. For two years, he and his Cabinet fought to pass what has come to be known as the Great Reform Bill of As John Bright, a liberal statesman of the next generation, said, "It was not a good Bill, but it was a great Bill when it passed.
The representation of 56 rotten boroughs was eliminated completely, together with half the representation of 30 others; the freed up seats were distributed to boroughs created for previously disenfranchised areas.
However, many rotten boroughs remained and it still excluded millions of working-class men and all women.
Symbolically, however, the Reform Act exceeded expectations. It is now ranked with Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights as one of the most important documents of the British constitutional tradition.
First, the Act removed the sovereign from the election process and the choice of prime minister. Slowly evolving for years, this convention was confirmed two years after the passage of the Act.
Since then, no sovereign has tried to impose a prime minister on Parliament. Weakened, they were unable to prevent the passage of more comprehensive electoral reforms in , , and when universal equal suffrage was established.
Grey set an example and a precedent for his successors. Using his Whig victory as a mandate for reform, Grey was unrelenting in the pursuit of this goal, using every parliamentary device to achieve it.
Although respectful toward the king, he made it clear that his constitutional duty was to acquiesce to the will of the people and Parliament. The Loyal Opposition acquiesced too.
Some disgruntled Tories claimed they would repeal the bill once they regained a majority. But in , Robert Peel, the new Conservative leader, put an end to this threat when he stated in his Tamworth Manifesto that the bill was "a final and irrevocable settlement of a great constitutional question which no friend to the peace and welfare of this country would attempt to disturb".
The premiership was a reclusive office prior to The incumbent worked with his Cabinet and other government officials; he occasionally met with the sovereign and attended Parliament when it was in session during the spring and summer.
He never went out on the stump to campaign, even during elections; he rarely spoke directly to ordinary voters about policies and issues.
After the passage of the Great Reform Bill , the nature of the position changed: Prime ministers had to go out among the people.
The Bill increased the electorate to , As the franchise increased, power shifted to the people and prime ministers assumed more responsibilities with respect to party leadership.
It naturally fell on them to motivate and organise their followers, explain party policies, and deliver its "message". Successful leaders had to have a new set of skills: They became the "voice", the "face" and the "image" of the party and ministry.
Robert Peel, often called the "model Prime Minister",  was the first to recognise this new role. After the successful Conservative campaign of , J.
Croker said in a letter to Peel, "The elections are wonderful, and the curiosity is that all turns on the name of Sir Robert Peel. Benjamin Disraeli and William Ewart Gladstone developed this new role further by projecting "images" of themselves to the public.
Known by their nicknames "Dizzy" and the "Grand Old Man", their colourful, sometimes bitter, personal and political rivalry over the issues of their time — Imperialism vs.
Each created a different public image of himself and his party. Disraeli, who expanded the Empire to protect British interests abroad, cultivated the image of himself and the Conservative Party as "Imperialist", making grand gestures such as conferring the title "Empress of India" on Queen Victoria in Gladstone, who saw little value in the Empire, proposed an anti-Imperialist policy later called "Little England" , and cultivated the image of himself and the Liberal Party as "man of the people" by circulating pictures of himself cutting down great oak trees with an axe as a hobby.
Gladstone went beyond image by appealing directly to the people. In his Midlothian campaign — so called because he stood as a candidate for that county — Gladstone spoke in fields, halls and railway stations to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of students, farmers, labourers and middle class workers.
Although not the first leader to speak directly to voters — both he and Disraeli had spoken directly to party loyalists before on special occasions — he was the first to canvass an entire constituency, delivering his message to anyone who would listen, encouraging his supporters and trying to convert his opponents.
Noting its significance, Lord Shaftesbury said, "It is a new thing and a very serious thing to see the Prime Minister on the stump.
Campaigning directly to the people became commonplace. Several 20th century prime ministers, such as David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill , were famous for their oratorical skills.
After the introduction of radio, motion pictures, television, and the internet, many used these technologies to project their public image and address the nation.
Stanley Baldwin , a master of the radio broadcast in the s and s, reached a national audience in his talks filled with homely advice and simple expressions of national pride.
For example, Tony Blair , whose Labour party was elected in partly on a promise to enact a British Bill of Rights and to create devolved governments for Scotland and Wales, subsequently stewarded through Parliament the Human Rights Act , the Scotland Act and the Government of Wales Act From its appearance in the fourteenth century Parliament has been a bicameral legislature consisting of the Commons and the Lords.
Members of the Commons are elected; those in the Lords are not. The balance are Lords Spiritual prelates of the Anglican Church. For most of the history of the Upper House, Lords Temporal were landowners who held their estates, titles and seats as a hereditary right passed down from one generation to the next — in some cases for centuries.
In , for example, there were nineteen whose title was created before Scots from the worlds of entertainment, business and politics were welcomed to Downing Street this evening for a traditional Burns Night Supper.
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