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The Prime Minister The Office and Its Holders Since 1945 by Peter Hennessy

The book is divided into four parts: Prelude, Premiership, The Prime Ministers, and Coda. The first part Prelude discusses the constitutional position of the prime minister. The first chapter of Part first. The Platonic Idea and the Constitutional Deal, starts with the sayings of John Morley (1889), to highlight the relationship of the Prime Minister with his/her Cabinet, from the page 157 of his book Walpole which goes,” The Prime Minister is the keystone of the cabinet arch.” (pp, 3)
The chapter deals with the arguments of the power of the Prime Minister. To differentiate between the platonic idea of power and the real power, which the writer calls the ‘pragmatic in real –life’, the writer first quotes Robert Armstrong about the powers and purpose of the Privy Council. the Cabinet. Armstrong (1999) is of the view that the Privy Council is the apex “where politics and administration come together and where difference and conflicts have finally to be reconciled.” (pp, 4) That is the ‘classical notion’ of Cabinet government. But on the contrary in a pragmatic real-life situation, the Prime Ministers act on their own whim. As the system “has been adopted, stretched and distorted in particular times.” (Hennessy,2001, pp,4)
To substantiate his viewpoint the writer illustrates different examples taken from Robin Butler’s public version of his IHR seminar where he charted strikingly the ‘decline of the full Cabinet’. Butler (1999) says,” By the 1990s’ it could be said that, from being an executive body(at least informal sense)in Attlee’s time, Cabinet had reverted to something close to what it was in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries—a meeting of private colleagues at which the issues of moments were informally reported or discussed.”
The chapter II. Continuity and Cottage Pie, is about the&nbsp.process of continuity of the office of the Prime Minister no matters who reins the helm of affairs.

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