Role And Powers Of The Prime Minister

HC 351, First Report of Session 2014-15 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes Relating to the Report

House of Commons - Political and Constitutional Reform Committee
TSO (The Stationery Office)

There is widespread agreement that the Prime Minister's role has increased in recent decades, including in policy making. The report 'Role and Powers of the Prime Minister (HC 351)' examines the public's understanding of the Prime Minister's role and powers, and whether the checks and balances on those powers are sufficient.

Coalition government has to some extent constrained the powers of the Prime Minister but this might not persist under single-party government. The need for support by a majority of Members of Parliament and the Cabinet acts as a check and balance on the Prime Minister; however, these political mechanisms are not effective on a day to day basis. The Liaison Committee has the potential to be a very effective mechanism for Parliament to hold the Prime Minster to account, and should continue to improve the way it works.

Many of the Prime Minister's powers are obscure prerogative powers, which are not well understood or defined. More of these prerogative powers should be codified in statute to make them more transparent and increase accountability to Parliament.

The Government should also consider:

  • Consolidating the existing Prime Ministerial powers in one place. The way the role has evolved means there is no single and authoritative source of information on the powers;

  • A role for Parliament in the investiture of the Prime Minister, or the Government, after a general election. Some consider that accountability of the Prime Minister would be strengthened by direct election by the public, US style; and

  • The creation of a combined Department for the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, with a departmental Select Committee specifically to scrutinise that Department.

Extent A4 ISBN 9780215073211
Size A4 Price £12.00
Format Paperback Published 24 Jun 2014
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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