Britain: Prime Ministerial Leadership
In Britain, the leadership environment displaces leadership responsibilities upon the head of government, the Prime Minister. In part, this situation results from the distribution of institutional resources between the executive branch of the central government and the other branches and levels of British government and the partisan affiliation of the electorate. In a highly centralised state, with no provision for the judicial review of the constitutionality of legislation and where governments frequently enjoy a disciplined parliamentary majority, those in the executive branch are free from certain constraints and benefit from potentially significant resources. However, this situation also results from the distribution of institutional resources within the executive branch of the central government itself. Here, leadership responsibilities are concentrated upon the head of government. Although the British executive consists of ‘a complex web’ (Dunleavy and Rhodes, 1990, p. 3) of coordinating institutions, the Prime Minister occupies a key position within the overall structure. Again, he absence of certain constraints and the presence of certain potentially significant resources ensures that the Prime Minister has consistently been the central actor in the British political system. In this sense, Britain has tended to exhibit a form of prime ministerial leadership. (For a list of British Prime Ministers since 1945, see Exhibit 2.1.)
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