Assignment: The Prime Minister holds Executive Power in the UK

The Prime Minister is the head of “Her Majesty’s Government” in Britain and Northern Ireland. The Prime Minister leads his party’s government in the “House of Commons” in cabinet meetings to discuss any agenda that he has chosen for that specific meeting. He has the authority to appoint and fire ministers because he influences most policy matters of the government. As the chief spokesperson for his government, it is his duty to keep the Queen informed of decisions made by the government. Britain has no written constitution and acceding to the constitution which is kept alive by traditions established a long time ago which specifically state that Her Majesty, the Queen of England must choose as prime minister the person who has a majority in the “House of Commons”.

Because of this long-established tradition, the “Executive Power” in Britain is dominated by the incumbent Prime Minister.  The Prime Minister’s executive powers extend for appointments to the judiciary, civil services including the Church of England. He also has the authority to merge or divide departments of government for political or administrative reasons to enhance performance or curtail the powers of that department. The Prime Minister also represents Britain with foreign governments and all ambassadors present their credentials to him when appointed by their respective countries.  Due to the decline of the aristocracy in Britain, the powers of the Prime Minister have increased to the extent that he is referred to as an “Elected Monarch”.

The post of the Prime Minister came into existence over a period of three hundred years by various acts of parliament, historical incidences and changes in political forces. Although the Monarchy still retains some of its previous privileges and powers, the Queen is still legally the head of government and governs through an elected prime minister who has a majority in parliament.  According to this understanding, it looks like Britain has two chief executives: The Prime Minister and the Monarchy.

However, this issue has been resolved by the Crown. The Crown retains the power to reign, for the making of laws and their implementation, has the responsibility for the imposition of taxes and their collection, and also has the right to proclaim war or peace along with terms associated with such undertakings. Prior to 1688, the king or queen wore the Crown along with all its inherent authority. Despite obvious sweeping powers, the authority and power of the Prime Minister of Britain are limited to what public opinion and Parliament will allow them to do.

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