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Government. The government consists of the ministers appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Prime Minister




The government consists of the ministers appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, who is appointed directly by the Crown and is the leader of the political party which for the time being has a majority of seats in the House of Commons. The office of the Prime Minister dates from the 18-th century and is the subject of a number of constitutional conventions. The Prime Minister is the head of the government and presides over the meetings of the Cabinet; by convention he is always a Member of the House of Commons. He consults and advises the Monarch on government business, supervises and to some extent coordinates the work of the various ministries and departments and is the principal spokesman for the government in the House of Commons. He also makes recommendations to the Monarch on many important public appointments including the Lord Chief Justice, Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, and Lords Justices of Appeal.

The Cabinet is the nucleus of government; its members consist of a small group of the most important ministers who are selected by the Prime Minister. The size of the Cabinet is today about 23 and its principal function, much of the work being carried out in Committee, is to determine, control and integrate the policies of the government for submission to Parliament. The Cabinet meets in private and its deliberations are secret; no vote is taken, and by the principle of ‘Cabinet unanimity’, collective responsibility is assumed for all decisions taken.

The central government ministries and departments give effect to government policies and have powers and duties conferred on them by legislation, and, sometimes, under the Royal Prerogative. Each is headed by a minister who is in most cases a member of either the House of Lords or the House of Commons. There are over 100 ministers of the Crown at the present time; they include departmental ministers (e.g., the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; Chancellor of the Exchequer (Treasury); Secretary of State for Social Services); non-departmental ministers (e.g., (Lord) President of the (Privy) Council, Paymaster-General, Ministers without Portfolio)- both senior ministers; ministers of state (additional ministers in departments who are in fact first deputy ministers of senior ministers); and junior ministers (usually known as Parliamentary Secretaries or Parliamentary Under-Secretaries) in all ministries and departments.

 


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