So dominant has the Prime Minister become that some have argued that he or she is effectively a president. The Prime Minister is the most important person in British politics. The Prime Minister appoints his cabinet and makes the final decisions on major issues. The Prime Minister cannot become a President as the UK system would not allow it but in the recent years, people have criticised that our Prime Ministers have increasingly become more of a presidential figure in Parliament.
Some of the ministers that have been referred to as presidential include Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair etc. Now in this essay, I will be analysing the factors that shows the growth of power of PM. The idea that the prime minister is now more presidential is drawn from the knowledge of the United States president and how the British Prime Minister is compared to him. Firstly, the media turns the Prime Minister into a political celebrity. The action the Prime Minister takes is published in newspapers and television.
The Prime minister is the spokesperson for the government. This is presidential in the sense that the PM is in the hot seat among his peers, which the president would be but only because he doesn't really have any peers. Another argument for is that PM has the role as the commander in Chief , being involved in foreign policy and holding the same power he can command the armed forces and can approve or deny some legislation as the President gives the creditability to the nation that PM has become more presidential.
The PM’s use of prerogative power is extremely important, foreign policy and military issues become much more important since the end of the war. The Prime Minister holds a number of prerogative powers that once belonged to the Crown such as the power to declare war, mobilise troops, the ability to appoint senior civil servants or to bestow honour. This basically shows that PM can do what Presidents can. The PM’s foreign policy commitment gives the opportunity to meet other heads of state and the media publishing the photos enhances the illusion of presidential status.
The media increasingly treats the PM as if they were president. However, one argument made showing the PM isn't actually a President is the way he is elected. He isn't elected as a single candidate by the electorate, as a single candidate by the electorate; this is unlike the president who runs as a candidate separate from any parties. The PM is only the leader of the party the electorate votes for. The monarch is the head of the state but the PM is not and cannot claim to speak to the nation.
Other argument against is that there is limitations to the power of the PM. He is limited and restricted by the Cabinet, Parliament and The Party because there is the need of majority vote in the cabinet. PM cannot decide to go to a war unless the party votes for the majority unlike the President of USA he can declare a war but the PM is restricted by House of Commons. This shows how the PM is un-presidential. The PM doesn’t have a separate source of authority. Since, the PM is in coalition with the Lib Dem, it seems like his powers are being lowered down.
When it comes to voting, the opposition party leader Nick Clegg can hold on a bit of weight which can make the PM hard to pass the law. There were some PM like John Major have failed to project a Presidential image or style as for some PM like Margaret Thatcher was very powerful and had a powerful presidential image and the impression was given off to the public. After analysing and discussing, I came to a conclusion that over the past years PM has been appearing with more presidential style of ruling and becoming more powerful presidential figure in the society.