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Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- Created 2012-03-05
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (PM)
is the head of
Her Majesty's Government
in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and
(consisting of all the most senior
, who are government department heads) are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the
, to their
and ultimately to the electorate. The,
, leader of the
, was appointed by
on 11 May 2010.
The office is not established by any constitution or law but exists only by long-established convention, which stipulates that the monarch must appoint as prime minister the person most likely to command the
House of Commons
; this individual is typically the leader of the political party or
of parties that holds the largest number of seats in that chamber. The position of Prime Minister was not created; it evolved slowly and erratically over three hundred years due to numerous acts of Parliament, political developments, and accidents of history. The office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective. The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement (1688–1720) and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament. Although the Sovereign was not stripped of the
ancient prerogative powers
and legally remained the head of government, politically it gradually became necessary for him or her to govern through a Prime Minister who could command a majority in Parliament.
By the 1830s the Westminster system of government (or cabinet government) had emerged; the Prime Minister had become
primus inter pares
or the first among equals in the Cabinet and the
head of government
in the United Kingdom. The political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication (inexpensive newspapers, radio, television and the internet), and photography. By the turn of the 20th century the modern premiership had emerged; the office had become the pre-eminent position in the constitutional hierarchy vis-a-vis the Sovereign, Parliament and Cabinet.
Prior to 1902, the Prime Minister sometimes came from the House of Lords, provided that his government could form a majority in the Commons. However as the power of the aristocracy waned during the 19th century the convention developed that the Prime Minister should always sit in the lower house. As leader of the
House of Commons
, the Prime Minister's authority was further enhanced by the
Parliament Act of 1911
which marginalised the influence of the
House of Lords
in the law-making process. The accretion of so much political power in one position gave rise to concerns that the office had become too "presidential", as in the American constitutional system, and that the Prime Minister was an "elected monarch".
from Wikipedia (last updated: 15 June), licensed under
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Photos from the Prime Minister's Office
The British Constitution
Parliament of the United Kingdom. (2004). Official Website.
Principal Ministers of the Crown: 1730–2006
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Prime minister's questions
Prime Ministerial Car (United Kingdom)
UK Prime Ministers timeline
Records of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
10 Downing Street
Spouses of the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom
Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom
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