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4. How Powerful is the Prime Minister?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the extent of the Prime Minister’s powers. In doing so, we draw a distinction between, on the one hand, ‘institutional’ power resources – i.e. the formal powers vested in the office of the PM – and on the other, the ‘personal’ power resources which an individual PM brings to the office. Prime-ministerial power arises from the fusion of these two power bases. To conclude, we draw these themes together by thinking about Heffernan’s theory of ‘Prime Ministerial predominance’.
In this course, Dr Richard Heffernan (Open University) thinks about the office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. We begin in the first module by thinking about the three essential qualifications that the UK Prime Minister must hold. In the second module, we move on to think about the role and responsibilities of the Prime Minister. In the third module, we conceptualise the relationship between the Prime Minister and Parliament. In the fourth module, we consider how powerful the Prime Minister can be said to be, thinking in particularl about the ‘institutional’ and ‘personal’ power resources that together constitute the office’s authority. In the fifth module, we compare and contrast the office of the Prime Minister with that of the President of the United States. In the sixth and final module, we consider the circumstances under which an incumbent Prime Minister ceases to hold office.
Richard Heffernan is a Lecturer in Politics at the Open University and Visiting Professor at the University of Notre Dame. He works in the field of comparative politics and specialises in British politics. He is presently researching the British prime minister.
Cite this Lecture
Heffernan, R. (2019, September 26). The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom - How Powerful is the Prime Minister? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-prime-minister-of-the-united-kingdom/how-powerful-is-the-prime-minister
Heffernan, Richard. "The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – How Powerful is the Prime Minister?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Sep 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-prime-minister-of-the-united-kingdom/how-powerful-is-the-prime-minister