Theoretical Framework: Prime Ministerial Political Leadership in the British Political System

  • Birgit Bujard
Part of the Contributions to Political Science book series (CPS)


This chapter sets out the theoretical framework for the study of the prime minister’s political leadership in European monetary policy. Firstly, different approaches to the study of political leadership are introduced. Moreover, concepts of the British political system are identified. They include the classical Westminster approach and Patrick Dunleavy’s and Roderick Rhodes’ core executive concept. Additionally, concepts to assess the prime minister’s political leadership in government decision-making are considered. These include Martin J. Smith’s model of prime ministerial power and Richard Heffernan’s thesis of prime ministerial predominance. On the basis of these, a modified model of prime ministerial power is developed. It is used to identify whether the four prime minister’s leadership analysed in this study was predominant or collective in European monetary policy.


  1. Bennister, M. (2007). Tony Blair and John Howard: Comparative predominance and ‘institution stretch’ in the UK and Australia. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 9(3), 327–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bennister, M. (2008). Blair and Howard: Predominant prime ministers compared. Parliamentary Affairs, 61(2), 334–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Burch, M. (1995). Prime minister and Whitehall. In D. Shell & R. Hodder-Williams (Eds.), Churchill to Major: The British prime ministership since 1945 (pp. 104–136). Armonk: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  4. Crossmann, R. H. S. (1963). Introduction. In W. Bagehot (Ed.), The English constitution (2nd ed., pp. 1–57). London: Collins/Fontana Library.Google Scholar
  5. Dunleavy, P., & Rhodes, R. A. W. (1990). Core executive studies in Britain. Public Administration, 68(1), 3–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Elgie, R. (1995). Political leadership in liberal democracies. Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fliegauf, M. T., Kießling, A., & Novy, L. (2008). Leader und Follower – Grundzüge eines inter-personalen Ansatzes zur Analyse politischer Führungsleistung. Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, 18(4), 399–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Foley, M. (1993). The rise of the British presidency. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Foley, M. (2000). The British presidency: Tony Blair and the politics of public leadership. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Gamble, A. (1990). Theories of British politics. Political Studies, 38(3), 404–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hay, C. (1995). Structure and agency. In D. Marsh & G. Stoker (Eds.), Theory and methods in political science (pp. 189–206). Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Heffernan, R. (2003). Prime ministerial predominance? Core executive politics in the UK. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 5(3), 347–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Heffernan, R. (2005a). Exploring (and explaining) the British prime minister. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 7(4), 605–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Heffernan, R. (2005b). Why the prime minister cannot be a president: Comparing institutional imperatives in Britain and America. Parliamentary Affairs, 58(1), 53–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Heffernan, R. (2006). The prime minister and the news media: Political communication as a leadership resource. Parliamentary Affairs, 59(4), 582–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Helms, L. (2000). “Politische Führung” als politikwissenschaftliches Problem. Politische Vierteljahresschrift, 41(3), 411–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Helms, L. (2005a). Politische Führung. In D. Nohlen & R.-O. Schultze (Eds.), Lexikon der Politikwissenschaft, Part 2 (3rd ed., pp. 737–738). Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck.Google Scholar
  18. Helms, L. (2005b). Presidents, prime ministers and chancellors: Executive leadership in western democracies. Basingstoke: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Helms, L. (2005c). Regierungsorganisation und politische Führung in Deutschland. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hennessy, P. (2001). The prime minister: The office and its holders since 1945 (2nd ed.). London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  21. Hübner, E., & Münch, U. (1999). Das Politische System Großbritanniens: Eine Einführung (2nd ed.). Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck.Google Scholar
  22. Kaiser, A. (2001). Die politische Theorie des Neo-Institutionalismus: James March und Johan Olsen. In A. Brodocz & G. S. Schaal (Eds.), Politische Theorien der Gegenwart II: Eine Einführung (pp. 253–282). Opladen: Leske + Budrich.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kavanagh, D., & Seldon, A. (2000). The powers behind the prime minister: The hidden influence of Number Ten (2nd ed.). London: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  24. Kelly, R., & Maer, L. (2016, February 25). The Parliament Acts, House of Commons Library Briefing Paper No. 00675.Google Scholar
  25. Lijphart, A. (2012). Patterns of democracy: Government forms and performance in thirty-six countries (2nd ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Marsh, D., Richards, D., & Smith, M. J. (2003). Unequal plurality: Towards an asymmetric model of British politics. Government and Opposition, 38(3), 306–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mayntz, R., & Scharpf, F. W. (1995). Der Ansatz des akteurszentrierten Institutionalismus. In R. Mayntz & F. W. Scharpf (Eds.), Gesellschaftliche Selbstregulierung und politische Steuerung. Campus: Frankfurt.Google Scholar
  28. Mughan, A. (2000). Media and the presidentialization of parliamentary elections. Basingstoke: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Norton, P. (2003). National parliaments and the European Union. Managerial Law, 45(5/6), 5–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Poguntke, T., & Webb, P. (Eds.). (2005). The presidentialization of politics: A comparative study of modern democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Putnam, R. D. (1988). Diplomacy and domestic politics: The logic of two-level games. International Organization, 42(3), 427–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rhodes, R. A. W. (1995). From prime ministerial power to core executive. In R. A. W. Rhodes & P. Dunleavy (Eds.), Prime minister, cabinet and core executive (pp. 11–37). Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Riddell, P. (2004). Prime ministers and parliament. Parliamentary Affairs, 57(4), 814–829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Scharpf, F. W. (2000). Interaktionsformen: Akteurszentrierter Institutionalismus in der Politikforschung. Opladen: Leske + Budrich.Google Scholar
  35. Seldon, A. (1994). Policy making and cabinet. In D. Kavanagh & A. Seldon (Eds.), The Major effect (pp. 154–166). London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  36. Seymour-Ure, C. (2003). Prime ministers and the media: Issues of power and control. Oxford: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Smith, M. J. (1994). The core executive and the resignation of Mrs Thatcher. Public Administration, 72(3), 341–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Smith, M. J. (1995). Interpreting the rise and fall of Margaret Thatcher: Power dependence and the core executive. In R. A. W. Rhodes & P. Dunleavy (Eds.), Prime minister, cabinet and core executive (pp. 108–124). Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  39. Smith, M. J. (1998). Reconceptualizing the British state: Theoretical and empirical challenges to central government. Public Administration, 76(1), 45–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Smith, M. J. (1999). The core executive in Britain. Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birgit Bujard
    • 1
  1. 1.CologneGermany

Personalised recommendations