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  • AQA Component The Prime Minister and cabinet: the difference between individual and collective responsibility

  • Edexcel Component 2 (UK Government) 3.2: The concept of ministerial responsibility

Background: what you need to know

The sacking of Nadhim Zahawi illustrates the concept of individual ministerial responsibility — the requirement for ministers to conduct themselves and their departments in accordance with the ministerial code. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak removed the Conservative party chair from the cabinet after an independent report concluded that he had not been fully transparent about an investigation by HMRC into his personal tax affairs.

Make sure that you are familiar with the main points of the ministerial code — the document which sets out the standards of behaviour expected of ministers. The code has featured in several news stories over the past year, for example in the resignation and reappointment of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary in October 2022.

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

Nadhim Zahawi sacked as Tory party chair over his tax affairs

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘Individual ministerial responsibility and collective responsibility are no longer important conventions in UK political life.’ 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 view that individual ministerial responsibility and collective responsibility are no longer effective conventions in UK political life.

    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]

    TIP: These questions require you to consider two different kinds of ministerial responsibility. Collective responsibility is the requirement for all ministers to be united in support of government policy. If they cannot do so, they should resign. An example is Brexit minister Lord Frost, who objected to the direction of government policy under Boris Johnson in December 2021.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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