Unit 2 PM Powers

8 months in as PM is probably not a bad time to start making an interim assessment of where Theresa May’s opportunities and obstacles lie as PM. For questions on PM/Cabinet/Executive examiners look for examples and case studies which are current and reflect both sides of the equation. Here are just some preliminary ideas you might want to think about and flesh out with a bit further detail in the exam. Some of these points could also potentially be used in questions on unity and division within the Conservative Party (Unit One.)CnHUr59WAAEsT1m.jpg

  • Inherited small majority and deeply split party – however has largely maintained unity over Brexit in the Commons
  • Strongly refashioned the Cabinet to make decisive break with Cameron’s administration
  • Inherited a manifesto that does not have her stamp on it and so has tried to develop policies which reflect her concerns such as the creation of more grammar schools
  • Has lost 24 times in the Lords to March 2017 including twice on the article 50 bill
  • Lords Finally relented on their objections to the Article 50 Bill, paving the way for May to give formal notice of the UK’s intention to leave the European Union
  • Failed to kill speculation that she intended to issue article 50 notice of withdrawal immediately. Allowed Nicola Sturgeon a window of opportunity to raise the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum and therefore lost control of the narrative.
  • Sought to raise her international standing by being first foreign Premier/President to visit Trump in Washington
  • Is increasingly isolated in rEU (27) and unlikely to have much negotiating power. Press is mainly faithful and supportive (except in response to the proposed NIC rise for the self employed) – providing she delivers clean Brexit
  • Cannot increase her majority due to FTPA (2011)
  • Arguably weakened or reduced mandate as not elected either by the Conservative Party or the country
  • No significant commanding rival (yet…)
  • Won Copeland by-election taking it off Labour
  • Lost Richmond by-election
  • Hugely favourable poll ratings compared to Corbyn
  • U-Turn in face of a looming Commons revolt over the Chancellor’s proposed rise of NICs for the self employed. Up to around 20 Tory Backbenchers threatened a rebellion.
  • Threatened with a backbench rebellion of up to 20 MPs on government proposals to seek cuts in the overall education budget. MP’s publicly told May to reverse the policy or lose the vote.
  • Up to 20 Conservative MPs under police investigation for alleged breaches of Electoral Spending Rules. Conservative Party has been fined £70,000 by the electoral Commission for same allegations. Files and evidence for criminal prosecution have now been passed by the police to the Crown prosecution Service. The Crown Prosecution Service will make a decision in June as to whether criminal prosecutions for electoral fraud pass the evidential and public interest tests. 
  • PM and Ministers  assumed “temporary” so called Henry VIII powers to separate community law from UK law. One could argue that this sets a dangerous precedent for what this or future governments might seek to do in relating to seeking to avoid consulting parliament. 

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