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‘Off With Their Heads’: British Prime Ministers and the Power to Dismiss

King, Anthony and Allen, Nicholas (2010) '‘Off With Their Heads’: British Prime Ministers and the Power to Dismiss.' British Journal of Political Science, 40 (2). pp. 249-278. ISSN 0007-1234

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<jats:p>The British prime minister’s power to appoint and dismiss ministers is probably his most important single power. This article explores how prime ministers from Macmillan to Blair have used that power. The article considers the criteria that prime ministers use when choosing to appoint or dismiss individuals from office before examining the calculations and miscalculations that prime ministers have made in practice. Finally, the article analyses the way that prime ministers have exercised, in particular, their power to dismiss and finds that Thatcher was far more likely than others to sack cabinet colleagues on ideological or policy grounds. The article emphasizes that prime ministers’ relationships with especially powerful ministers – ‘big beasts of the jungle’ – are crucial to an understanding of British government at the top.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2012 11:09
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:36

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