You have probably heard the name a thousand times and I am pretty sure you will have seen pictures of David Cameron on almost as many occasions, but how much do you really know about the role of the Prime Minister? It may look like just a lot of hand-shaking and addressing the cameras, however most of the important work actually goes on behind the scenes. The Prime Minister is the most important person in British politics as they are the head of government in Parliamentary systems such as Britain’s. This means that they are the most important minister in Parliament and are responsible for all of the government’s policies and decisions.
The position is appointed after each General Election, where the leader of the winning party is summoned by the Queen and made Prime Minister. To help them run the various government departments, the new Prime Minister then forms their Cabinet; this is a group of MPs (members of Parliament) from within their political party whom the Prime Minister appoints to deal with certain government areas. For example, the minister who runs the transport section of government affairs is known as the Secretary of State for Transport and the post is currently held by Patrick McLoughlin MP; this means that he is responsible for all of the policies of the department of transport, such as transport security. Though each minister is head of their own department, the Prime Minister is ultimately responsible for all of the decisions made by his Cabinet and has the power to hire and fire them if they do not follow his policies.
So we know that they are the most important figure in UK politics and that they can appoint ministers to do some of the work, but what does the Prime Minister himself actually do? The Prime Minister’s main priority is to drive his party’s policies and push them through Parliament, so that they become law. As well as being the figure-head for his party and the government, it is also the Prime Minister’s job to represent the country abroad and to promote Britain’s interests in international bodies, such as the European Union. The prime Minister also makes the final decision on major issues that affect the country as a whole for example, sending troops into another country; such as Prime Minister Tony Blair did in 2003 during what became known as the Iraq War.
However, despite being the leader of the country, the Prime Minister still has the same responsibilities to their constituency as does any other Member of Parliament (MP). Constituencies are the districts into which the country is divided for election purposes, with each constituency voting for who they want to represent them in Parliament. This means that as well as being the Prime Minister, David Cameron is also the elected MP for Witney in Oxfordshire and so he has a responsibility to represent the people of Witney’s interests in Parliament and work to improve his constituency.
So in short, the Prime Minister not only runs the country and leads the government but also represents Britain overseas and is responsible for any decisions or actions that the government makes – quite a tough job really! Which probably explains the six-figure salary that comes with the job description.