The Policy Unit merged with the Prime Ministers private office the number of

The policy unit merged with the prime ministers

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Downing St, centralising Prime Ministerial power (Rhodes, 2006). The Policy Unit merged with the Prime Minister’s private office; the number of SPADs offering independent policy and political advice rose from 8 under Major to 27; and the total number of staff within Number 10 grew from 107 under Major to over 200 (Rhodes, 2006). The Cabinet Office was bought under the purview and control of the Prime Minister (Rhodes, 2006). And Blair established a number of bodies within Number 10 and the Cabinet Office, including the Communications Unit, the Strategy Unit, the Delivery Unit, and the Centre for Policy Management Studies (Cline, 2008). Providing significantly greater policy advice and recommendations, these bodies allowed Blair to control the workings of government and coordinate from the centre (Rhodes, 2006). Mo
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Mowlam—a minister during Blair’s tenure—would describe these reforms as quintessential of Blair’s “centralising tendency” (Rhodes, 2006). Therefore, from 1997 to at least 2007, the Cabinet system in the UK was relegated almost completely, replaced with a “third historic phase” of the Prime Minister acting as a Chief Executive, and leading the government (Rhodes, 2006). Core Executive governance: the apex of a diffuse networkThe depiction of the Cabinet system evolving through three distinct and independent stages after 1945 to the present is, however, overly simplistic (Griffiths, 2018: 143). As the operation of the Cabinet system is a matter for the personal discretion of the current Prime Minister, certain Prime Ministers have of course bucked these historical trends described above. Major after Thatcher, and Brown after Blair, for example, would attempt to return to a more traditional, collegiate style of Cabinet in order to restore harmony in government after Cabinet successfully deposed each of their forebearers. And of course, Blair’s dominance between 1997 and 2007 was constantly challenged by Brown, who wielded significant influence over New Labour policymaking during Blair’s tenure. The Treasury, rather than being under the thumb of the Prime Minister’s influence, wielded its own orbit of power, which proved capable of producing tension between it and Number 10: some have therefore described New Labour as a “dual monarchy” where Blair was “the Chairman and Brown the Chief Executive” (Rhodes, 2006). This view that Prime Minister dominance over the Cabinet system is not all-powerful has been compounded by recent political history: specifically, by the interruption of single party government that characterised British politics from 1945 to 2010 (Griffiths, 2018: 126). The election results after the 2010 election meant that in leading a coalition government between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, Cameron had no other choice but to opt for a more ‘collegiate’ and consensual style of running Cabinet (Griffiths, 2018: 134). This was also the case after 2017, when May became similarly constrained after becoming reliant on DUP support (Griffiths, 2018: 142). Something else that affected both May and Cameron, of course, was the need to deal with intense internal party divisions over the question of EU membership (Norton,
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