Parliament 2

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Parliament 2

  1. 1. Parliament 2 15/11/10 Ministerial and Collective Responsibility
  2. 2. Checks and Balances • Ministerial Responsibility means that ministers take responsibility not just for their own actions but also for anything that goes on in their department • Collective Responsibility means that the CABINET is held responsible for decisions made by its members. • In theory this means that if departmental errors are exposed by parliament, the minister should resign, if a major policy agreed by the Cabinet as a whole, the whole government should resign
  3. 3. Ministerial Responsibility: followed or ignored? • These days, it is rarely followed. Although Lord Carrington (foreign secretary) resigned in 1981after the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands this is rare. • Tends to be enforced when: – The minister can be shown to have taken a disastrous decision, with no excuses – The minister has made a series of mistakes, building up a general impression of incompetence – The minister is seen as an embarrassment to the government – The prime minister needs a scapegoat
  4. 4. Damaging Resignations • When a prominent cabinet minister disagrees with a key policy • In 2003, Robin Cook and Claire Short both resigned over the policy over Iraq. • This can be seen as a product of ‘Collective Responsibility’ as the ministers concerned were no longer prepared to say they agreed with the government’s line.
  5. 5. Collective Responsibility • Only seems to apply now if the nation’s survival is at stake. • Individual resignations tend to happen over personal rather than professional errors.
  6. 6. Collective Responsibility • Only seems to apply now if the nation’s survival is at stake. • Individual resignations tend to happen over personal rather than professional errors.

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