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British Prime Minister - Coursework Example

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British Prime Minister

10, Downing Street, the present residence of British prime minister is naturally the centre of power in Britain. As one of the most powerful offices in the world even after the receding of imperial colonialism, office of the British Prime Minister has a unique position in the political world. Prime Ministerial office of Great Britain did not come into existence all of a sudden; but had been the result of a painful and lengthy democratic revolution. Democracy in Britain has shaped in a very different way from the other democratic States of the world, because British democracy has to assert itself under the domineering rule of British Monarchs. Starting from the days of Magna Carta, British parliamentary system evolved to reach the present political model. Britain never had a written constitution and instead, depends on covenants, political and historical traditions and precedents. Still it is considered to be the mother of all constitutions in the world and all her institutions are in their respective places. "There is no lack of statutory provisions regarding the various institutions of government, considered individually. What is lacking is a documentary and authoritative statement of the relations between these institutions," Birch (1990, -p.21).
Not unnaturally democracies of the world are careful about their democratic legacies and more so Britain. The Prime Minister's office is full of constitutional checks and balances that are in place, so that an unscrupulous individual who might one day happen to occupy this exalted office, would not be able to misuse the power pattern in any way. Scepticism about politicians could be harmful to some extent, but it pays to be careful.

"Unlike Civil servants, however, Prime Ministers are men who may be in a job one day and out the next. And so, having pursued power and seized it, they proceed to use and abuse it in order to dominate the Press in an apparently paranoid pursuance of survival," says Margach (1978, p.3).

Some of the balances and checks that prevail on the office of British Prime Minister will be discussed here.


Also called Trias Politica a term used by French political thinker Baron de Montesquieu, who lived during 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment, which is closely linked with the scientific revolution, emphasizing reason, science and rationality. Montesquieu was the originator of separation of powers, today used in all democratic states, as a check on powerful heads of states, so that the constitutional powers are not misused and the constitution itself is not usurped. Separation of power mainly works on three branches, legislature, judiciary and executive. The states are worried about the tyrannical and dictatorial rules because most of the states have come out of it to become democratic. After the Glorious Revolution when Britain became a constitutional monarchy, there was a lot of hesitation and nervousness in the air thinking that dictatorial tendency might return again. So, power of monarchy was drastically reduced to an unbelievable level to give most of it to the Prime Minister, Cabinet and Parliament. It was again realised that Prime Minister himself could become a dictator if checks and balances are not firmly in place and thus, the Separation of Power came into existence in Britain, though not as separation of powe ...Show more


The office of the Prime Minister of England as it was referred to earlier, is a unique status about which T.B. Macaulay writes in one of his letters to his father, when he comes to know the unfortunate death of Canning in 1827 after only four months of attaining the post of Prime Minister: "To fall at the very moment of reaching the very highest pinnacle of human ambition!…
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