how is the Prime Minister in Britain gain that office? Is he elected by the people?


Is the Prime Minister of Britain voted in by the people?

2 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    He is appointed by the Queen. And that's the technically correct answer.

    However, what actually happens makes it an indirect election. We have a general election every five years for the House of Commons. The Queen then, by convention (there is no written constitution that puts any limit on her choice, or even requires there to be a Prime Minister at all, but custom and convention must guide her to make the obvious choice or the system won't work), appoints whoever is most likely to command a majority in the Commons and form a stable government. This gives her no choice - she has to choose the leader of the party that won most seats, or she will cause a constitutional crisis. If it gets over half the seats, clearly it can form a stable government. If it doesn't, it can try to form a coalition, or it will form a minority government.

    So if you're British and want to be Prime Minister, first get elected to Parliament, then win the election to lead your party, then lead your party to victory in a general election. That last one may not be necessary - if a Prime Minister dies in office or resigns, the party needs to hold a leadership election and the Queen will appoint whoever wins it. The last example of that was Gordon Brown, who was elected unopposed as Labour leader when Tony Blair decided that ten years in office was enough and resigned. Less than three years later, he was defeated at the general election in 2010. So he was Prime Minister without ever having led Labour to win a general election (and was widely regarded as a disaster).

    What normally happens is that a general election will be on a Thursday. Counting of votes in each constituency (electoral district) begins as soon as possible after polls close at 10 pm and most results will be announced around 2-3 am. (Great TV for politically-minded insomniacs! - the main channels keep going all night.) We don't use voting machines, we use pencil and paper so it all has to be counted by hand, which is why it takes so long. By mid-morning on Friday we'll have nearly all the results, it will be clear who the largest party is, and the Queen will summon its leader to Buckingham Palace to be formally appointed. If he's the existing Prime Minister, this is not necessary, but the Queen will invite him anyway to congratulate him.

    He takes office immediately, will probably spend the weekend appointing his Ministers, and so the government is all in place even before the new Parliament meets for the first time around 3 weeks later. It needs to be done that way round because Parliament cannot do any business until the Queen has formally opened it. She does that by reading a speech from the throne in the House of Lords to set out what "My Government" plans to do in the next year, so the new Prime Minister needs time to write the speech for her and discuss it with his Cabinet.

  • 5 years ago

    He or she is elected by the Parliament which consists of members elected by the people.

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