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  • AQA Component 1, Section The Prime Minister and Cabinet

  • Edexcel Component 2, Section 3.3.2: The Prime Minister and the Cabinet

Background: what you need to know 

These two articles are useful for a key A Level topic, the relationship between Prime Minister and Cabinet. You need to be aware of the various factors that influence Prime Ministers when they carry out reshuffles. The articles highlight competence as a reason why ministers may be removed or promoted and gives as an example, the replacement of the ill-fated Gavin Williamson at education by Nadhim Zahawi, the minister who is considered to have handled the rollout of vaccines successfully. Use the articles to work out the other factors that Boris Johnson appears to have taken into account.

Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:

Boris Johnson recasts UK government with big cabinet shake-up

Reshuffle signals need for serious action on levelling-up

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘The UK Prime Minister’s ability to manage the Cabinet is one of the most important sources of their power.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement.

    In your answer you should draw on material from across the whole range of your course of study in Politics. [25 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the argument that control of the Cabinet is the most important source of the UK Prime Minister’s power.

    In your answer you should draw on relevant knowledge and understanding of the study of Component 1: UK politics and core political ideas. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: A possible Component 1 topic is political parties. The article mentions the favourable reaction of Conservative MPs to the reshuffle. It suggests that Michael Gove has been moved to Housing in a bid to reassure Conservative voters who are uneasy about the government’s planning policies. This underlines the fact that, in reshuffling their Cabinets, Prime Ministers usually have an eye on how the changes will be received by their party, both within and beyond Westminster.

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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