Prime Minister of Britain: Position, Power and Function

Parliamentary governance is established in Britain. One of the main features of this system is the leadership of the competent Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister. Therefore, the post of Prime Minister is very important in Britain. He is the head of the cabinet, the de facto head of government, the leader of parliament and the principal adviser to the emperor.

Position of the British Prime Minister

The post of Prime Minister in England was based on conventions until 1937 AD. This post was started from 1721 AD while Balpole became the first Prime Minister. Like many other institutions in England, the post of Prime Minister has also developed automatically.

In the “Minister of the crown Act” of 1937 AD, the existence of the team of Prime Minister and First Lord of the treasury was first accepted and a 10,000-pound annual salary was fixed for it. Even today, England does not get any salary as Prime Minister. His position is informal and he has absolutely no legal power. All his powers are derived from the conventions. He is the de facto ruler of the country on the basis of convention.

Appointment of the British Prime Minister

The Prime Minister is appointed by the Emperor. In this connection of the emperor can not use voluntary. He will appoint the leader of the majority party of the Commons House as the Prime Minister and invite him to form the cabinet.
Since 1902, it has become a convention that the Prime Minister will be taken from the House of Commons and not from the Lord’s Assembly. The Emperor may exercise discretion in certain situations in the appointment of the Prime Minister.

For example, When no party has a clear majority in the House of Commons, it can act voluntarily in the appointment of the Prime Minister. This happened in 1916 and 1931. Joint governments were formed at both times and the king had to decide in his own discretion. In 1931, the king made the leader of the minority party, McDonald, the prime minister.

There is no definite qualification for the post of Prime Minister, but in practice it is necessary for him to have personal qualities.

In the words of Finner-
“They should have qualities, alertness to all dangers, not running away from them, not all greater knowledge and ability, no more specificity or ignorance, no ability to instantiate and steady acumen and enthusiasm.”

In this way, the Prime Minister should be a well-educated, talkative, hard-working, patient, alert to the dangers and a quick decision-maker. He should study Lokmat and should be proficient in publicity art.

Power of the British Prime Minister

(a) Central place of Prime Minister’s Cabinet

The Prime Minister is the center of cabinet construction, life and death. His first task is to build a cabinet. He is completely independent in building the cabinet on behalf of the emperor. The emperor accepts the list of cabinets that he gives to the emperor. But the Prime Minister’s hands are tied to certain practical restrictions in the construction of the Cabinet. He has to see that key members of his party get into the cabinet. Apart from this, he can also give representation to various classes, different religions, different regions, young politicians etc. in the cabinet. If he deems it necessary for any work. For example, in 1924, despite opposition from conservatives, Waldwin appointed Churchill as finance minister. In this way, the Prime Minister decides how many ministers are in the cabinet and which ministers should be taken in it.

The Prime Minister is also the Director of the Cabinet. He distributes portfolios among ministers. In the distribution of departments, their decision is usually final. If a minister rejects the department, the Prime Minister can deny him authority. The Prime Minister also looks at whether all departments are functioning properly under the supervision of every minister. The Prime Minister prepares business for Cabinet meetings and calls meetings. He presides over the cabinet meetings and handles all the proceedings. They have a decisive hand in the decision and policy making of the cabinet. If there is a difference of opinion between two ministers or two departments, then the Prime Minister resolves it through mediation. The Prime Minister remains free to accept or reject whatever the subjects of the Cabinet debate. In a nutshell, the Prime Minister is the guide of the Cabinet. Being Prime Minister is to coordinate all policies.

The Prime Minister is also the destroyer of the Cabinet. Simultaneously, other ministers also float or drown. At the time of his resignation, the entire cabinet is dissolved. Other ministers who disagree with him have to resign. In 1935, Sir Samuel Heer had to resign due to independent foreign policy. If the Prime Minister is convinced that a particular minister is expected to be affected by the government’s ability, honesty and policy by staying in the cabinet, then he can seek resignation from his partner. The emperor can dismiss a minister only on the advice of the Prime Minister. If it is known to a minister that the public is expected to be hurt by his stay, then it is the duty of the minister to resign. Like Anthony Eden in 1956, Profo in 1963. Thus, the Prime Minister is the mehrvashila of the cabinet-based base and is the key to the Cabinet.

In Gladstone’s words “The Prime Minister is the key-stone of the cabinet arch.” In the words of Lasky “The Prime Minister is the center of the formation life dissoliution of the cabinet.”

Scholars have expressed different views on what is the relationship between the Prime Minister and his colleagues. Lord Marlauri has called the Prime Minister the first of his counterparts. This means that the Prime Minister does not enjoy any special peace and status, he is only nominal head and his peace is at par with other ministers. On the other hand Ramgemure does not agree with this view. In his words “The prime minister’s first say in counterparts is utterly illusory, because he appoints and dismisses his colleagues. Not in law but in practice he is an executive head of the state. The powers of which are so wide, as in any world Not even the constitutional ruler, even the American president. Thus according to Ramzemure, he is a dictator because he appoints and dismisses ministers and is the de facto head of government. In tennis terms “He is rather a sunround which blanets revolve . “

Both of the above views are exaggerated. In fact, the Prime Minister is above the counterparts, as he can appoint and dismiss ministers. Also, he handles the cabinet. On the other hand he is less than a dictator. The Minister is responsible to the Parliament, not to it. He cannot treat her like a dictator or else carries her with him. Half of his reputation is backed by his party. Therefore, the Prime Minister can persuade his thoughts not by forcing a colleague, but by persuading them. If he treats ministers like a dictator, then this will push the unity of the party and their future will be dark.

(b) Link between the Emperor and the Cabinet

The Prime Minister acts as the link between the Emperor and the Cabinet. He gives governance information to the emperor and makes ministers aware of the emperor’s views. Performs the task of sending information of the emperor in a purely departmental matter. In this way the Prime Minister gives major advice to the emperor. The emperor exercises all his powers only on the advice of the Prime Minister. In all areas of crisis, making appointments, distributing titles, giving speeches in Parliament etc., the Prime Minister gives advice to the Emperor. Even the Prime Minister controls the personal affairs of the emperor. Like which government functions the emperor will participate in, which countries he will visit, etc. Therefore, the Prime Minister controls the Emperor and becomes the de facto head of government.

(c) Leader of Parliament

The Prime Minister is primarily the leader of the House of Commons in Parliament. In the House of Lords, he appoints someone who represents him. The Prime Minister’s final and official speech related to the policy of governance in Parliament is the same. The Prime Minister makes major announcements to the government about policy and action. He answers the questions of the unicameral and critical subjects asked in Parliament. He commits a misunderstanding arising from a minister’s speech.

He also leads the operation of the House of Commons. He divides the time of the House and prepares the program. All government bills are prepared under his supervision and according to his advice. He has a lot of hand in preparing the annual budget. Through party alerts, he gives the necessary orders to the team members. The majority of his party remains in the House. Therefore, sometimes government bills and budgets are passed by Parliament. An important power of the Prime Minister related to Parliament is to dissolve the House of Commons. The Prime Minister can advise the Emperor to dissolve the House of Commons and the Emperor can usually reject it. By this power he controls the members of the House of Commons.

(d) Party leader

The Prime Minister is the leader of the party. The reason for his supreme position in the country is that he is the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons. Being the leader of the party, he is the head of the government. He is considered a symbol of the party. It is the main pillar of the unity of the party. The party’s future remains tied to its future. General elections are fought by making his person the center. It is therefore correct to say that the general election is a referendum between future prime ministers. The general election of 1966 AD was between Wilson and Heath and not between Anudar and the working party. By election, the Prime Minister becomes a symbol of the nation. The prestige and power of the party is embedded in his personality.

(e) To conduct foreign relations

The Prime Minister is the director of foreign relations of Britain. He formulates foreign policy and has full control over it. He closely monitors the affairs of the foreign minister. The Prime Minister makes important announcements related to foreign policy and his words are considered final decisions. It is the decision of which country to negotiate and when to join the war. He is sometimes personally present at important international conferences or festivals and participates in international thought. Thus, it is the international representative of Britain.

(f) The power relating to appointments and titles

All high level appointments are made on the advice of the Emperor Prime Minister. The emperor appoints the members of the House of Lords with the opinion of the Prime Minister. Only on the recommendation of the Prime Minister can the emperor give the title to someone. The Ministry of Finance is in control of the civil service and the Finance Ministry is controlled by being the first Lord of the Prime Minister.

(g) Crisis powers

Constitutionally, the Prime Minister does not have crisis power in Britain, but in practice his power is increased in war and other crises. Virtually in crisis, Constitutional dictatorship is established. Whose head becomes the Prime Minister. During World War II, Churchill exercised no less power than dictators like Hitler and Mussolini. It is only in this situation that the Prime Minister is able to consider and analyze all approaches to combat operations. No one can assume their responsibility. During war, power and responsibility are concentrated in his hands.

Actual Status – It is clear from the above description that the powers of the British Prime Minister are unlimited. His power is like a dictator. The only difference is that a dictator behaves in an arbitrary manner, whereas the prime minister acts according to established rules and conventions. According to Jannings “The above is to call the Prime Minister the cornerstone of the entire Constitution.”

In the words of Bezhot, “The Prime Minister is the head of the efficient pan of the British Constitution.”

According to Ramgemure, “The cabinet is the navigator of the state-like ship and the Prime Minister is its driver.” Mauriot has called him the political ruler of the country. In the words of the monks “No man knows anything about the residence of another minister, but a fool also knows ‘Dwoning street’.”

Thus we can say that the Prime Minister is the de facto ruler of the country. As long as his party has a majority in the Common Assembly, he is an autocratic ruler and his position is paramount.

Comparison between British Prime Minister and the US President

Comparing the British Prime Minister to the US President – Lasky states that “The President of U.S.A. is both more or less than the king. He is both more or less than the Prime Minister. “

Similarities – Both are representative of the people and both are the de facto rulers of the country. Both the democracies are surveyors in states and can exercise unlimited rights in a crisis situation, yet in both cases there is following difference.

(i) In America, the President is the head of the executive only because of the power separation principle, but in England the Prime Minister is also the leader of the Parliament and can influence the judiciary.

(i) The office of the President is permanent for 4 years but the term of the Prime Minister is at the will of the House of Commons. Therefore, it can also increase or decrease.

(iii) As far as the Cabinet is concerned, the US President is in a more profitable position than the British Prime Minister. In the US, the President is independent in the appointment and removal of ministers. Ministers are his servants and not allies. The President may disregard his consultation. On the other hand, the Prime Minister’s hands are tied in the appointment of ministers. The minister is his associate. Therefore, he cannot treat them like dictators.

(iv) The Prime Minister is more powerful than the President on the question of Parliament. Lasky stated that “The president of the United States must be very legislative position of a British Prime Minister.” The Prime Minister holds the position as the leader of the majority party of the Commons House. As long as its party has a majority, Parliament is its cherry. He is the leader of the Parliament. He can dissolve the House of Commons. Thus he has control over the Parliament. But the US President cannot control the Congress. He can only impress the Congress by the power of ‘Veto’.

(v) In areas of executive power, both are more or less than each other. The Prime Minister is very powerful in relation to foreign relations, appointments etc. But the Congress has control over the President. He has to get approval from the Senate for treaties, appointments etc.

(vi) The Prime Minister is in a beneficial position as far as the party is concerned. The Prime Minister is the leader of his party and that is why he becomes a powerful person of the country. But in America, the President does not get any power due to party.

(vii) The President does not have control over the courts in America. The court controls the president. But the Prime Minister of Britain exercises influence over the Court through Lord Chancellor.


Thus both the British Prime Minister and the American President are more or less than each other. Their strength depends on their personality.

According to Lausky, “The power of each is greater than each other in certain things and at certain times. It depends not only on the situation but also on the nature and reign of the officials.”

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