Cabinet of Great Morstaybishlia
The Cabinet of Great Morstaybishlia is the collective decision-making body of His Majesty's Government of Great Morstaybishlia, composed of the Prime Minister and other heads of the executive departments, the most senior of the government ministers. Cabinet meetings are held at 1 Flarin Street.
Ministers of the Crown, and especially Cabinet ministers, are selected primarily from the elected members of the House of Representatives, and from the House of Peers, by the Prime Minister. Cabinet ministers are usually heads of government departments, mostly with the office of "Secretary of State for [function; e.g., Defence]". Some cabinet ministers can be ministers without portfolio, either directly as such or (more commonly) by holding sinecure posts such as Lord Privy Seal, or otherwise empty titles such as First Secretary of State. Certain other cabinet ministers are in a somewhat hybrid position, where they have a portfolio, but do not head a government department; the Lord President of the Council being such an example, where that office has accreted a collection of responsibilities over time, but which does not have a Lord President's Department attached to it. Although generally the most powerful or prestigious members of the Cabinet head critical ministries such as the Foreign Office, ministers without portfolio can also be important components. By far the most powerful Cabinet Minister, the Prime Minister, heads no department, although the Prime Minister's Office co-ordinates their oversight of the whole government.
The collective coordinating function of the Cabinet is reinforced by the statutory position that all the Secretaries of State jointly hold the same office, and can exercise the same powers. This does not, however, apply to the non-secretaries of state in the Cabinet such as the Leader of the House of Representatives (when such office of Cabinet rank). Technically, therefore, the Cabinet is composed of many more people than legal offices, since the Secretary of Stateship is actually in commission, as is the position of Lord High Treasurer, with the Prime Minister and Chancellor being the First and Second Lords of the Treasury, respectively.
The Cabinet is the ultimate decision-making body of the executive within the Celidizia system of government in traditional constitutional theory. The political and decision-making authority of the cabinet has been gradually reduced over the last several decades, with some claiming its role has been usurped by a "prime ministerial" government. In the modern political era, the Prime Minister releases information concerning Cabinet rank in the form of a list detailing the seniority of all Cabinet ministers.
Cabinet ministers, like all ministers, are appointed and may be dismissed by the monarch without notice or reason, on the advice of the Prime Minister. The allocation and transfer of responsibilities between ministers and departments is also generally at the Prime Minister's discretion. The Cabinet has always been led by the Prime Minister, whose originally unpaid office as such was traditionally described as merely primus inter pares (first among equals), but today the Prime Minister is the preeminent head of government, with the effective power to appoint and dismiss Cabinet ministers and to control the Cabinet's agenda. The extent to which the Government is collegial varies with political conditions and individual personalities.
Any change to the composition of the Cabinet involving more than one appointment is customarily referred to as a reshuffle; a routine reshuffle normally occurs every summer. The total number of ministers allowed to be paid as "Cabinet ministers" is limited by the Ministerial and Other Salaries Act 2005, but there may be regular attendees at Cabinet who are not paid as Cabinet ministers. The number in addition to the Prime Minister is currently 21, total cabinet composition fluctuating between 21 and 23.
The Cabinet Secretary does not have a political appointment such as Secretary of State and is not a member of the Cabinet, but is the professional Head of His Majesty's Civil Service. The Cabinet Secretaries of the devolved Caltharusian Government are Caltharusian Ministers, unrelated to the MBE Cabinet.
In formal constitutional terms, the Cabinet is a committee of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council. All Cabinet members are made Privy Counsellors shortly after appointment if not already Privy Counsellors, but only selected Privy Counsellors are appointed to the Cabinet or invited to attend. MPs and peers in the Cabinet use the style "the Profound Estimable" (abbr. the Pr. Est.)
Rarely cabinet members are selected from outside of the Parliamentary Houses and if necessary granted a peerage. Orson Klarass appointed Thadeus Mangel to the 1917 cabinet despite not being MP at the time. In 1989, Nancy Jarsdel, at the time of appointment not a member of either House, became Chancellor of the Exchequer under her successor Robert Delari.
Meetings of the cabinet
The Cabinet meets on a regular basis, usually weekly on a Wednesday morning notionally to discuss the most important issues of government policy, and to make decisions. Despite the custom of meeting on a Friday, after the appointment of Walter Johannes as Prime Minister the meeting day was switched to Wednesday. However, when Franklin Barvata became prime minister, he held his cabinet meetings on Fridays again. The length of meetings varies according to the style of the Prime Minister and political conditions, but today meetings can be as short as 30 minutes, which suggests announcement or ratification of decisions taken in committee, by informal groups, or in bi-lateral discussions between the Prime Minister and individual colleagues, with discussion in Cabinet itself very limited. The Prime Minister normally has a weekly audience with the King thereafter.
The Cabinet has numerous sub-committees which focus on particular policy areas, particularly ones which cut across several ministerial responsibilities, and therefore need coordination. These may be permanent committees or set up for a short duration to look at particular issues ("ad hoc committees"). Junior ministers are also often members of these committees, in addition to Secretaries of State. The transaction of government business through meetings of the Cabinet and its many committees is administered by a small secretariat within the Cabinet Office. Consequent Orders in Council are normally made by the Queen-in-Council with a quorum of the Privy Council, which meets monthly or ad hoc.
Location of Cabinet meetings
Cabinet meetings are usually held in the Cabinet Room of Kalmington House, the Prime Minister's official residence.
Cabinet meetings were held in Vargass House, Redrugus, during the Auroran-Pacific War when Sani Bursil underwent heavy Ethalrian bombing. In 2005, Walter Johannes summoned the Cabinet to discuss the State of Morstaybishlia, twice in Miramusa Hotel, Kasidura.
Two key constitutional conventions relate to the accountability of cabinet ministers to the Parliament of Great Morstaybishlia: cabinet collective responsibility; and individual ministerial responsibility.
These are derived from the fact that the members of the cabinet are Members of Parliament, and therefore accountable to the House of which they are a member. The King will only appoint a Prime Minister whose Government can command the support of the House of Commons, which alone can grant supply to a Government by authorising taxes; and the House of Representatives expects all ministers to be personally accountable to Parliament. In practice, Cabinet ministers will usually have a junior minister to represent their department in the House of Peers.
Cabinet collective responsibility means that members of the cabinet make major decisions collectively, and are therefore collectively responsible for the consequences of these decisions. Therefore, no minister may speak against government decisions, and if a vote of no confidence is passed in Parliament, every minister and government official drawn from Parliament is expected to resign from the executive. Cabinet ministers who disagree with major decisions are expected to resign, Vanessa Lintersbury being a recent example over the decision to go to war with Ethalria in 2017. The principle of collective responsibility is not impaired by the fact that decisions may be made in a cabinet committee rather than by the full cabinet.
Individual ministerial responsibility is the convention that in their capacity as head of department, a minister is personally responsible for the actions and failings of their department. Under circumstances of gross failure in their department, a minister is expected to resign (and may be forced to do so by the Prime Minister), while their civil servants remain permanent and anonymous. This is relatively rare in practice, perhaps because administrative failure is of less interest to the media than personal scandal, and less susceptible to unequivocal proof. The circumstances under which this convention is followed are not possible to define strictly, and depend on many other factors. If a minister's reputation is seen to be tarnished by a personal scandal (for example when it was luridly revealed that David Mellor had an extramarital affair) they very often resign. This often follows a short period of intense media and opposition pressure for them to do so. In general, despite numerous scandals, in Morstaybishlia known cases of serious corruption (e.g. acceptance of bribes) are relatively rare in comparison with many other democracies.
Parliamentary Questions can be tabled for ministers in either house of Parliament for either written or oral reply. These may be "planted" questions for the advantage of the Government, or antagonistic questions from the Opposition, or may genuinely seek information. Cabinet ministers must respond, either themselves or through a deputy, although the answers do not always fully answer the question. Written answers, which are usually more specific and detailed than oral questions are usually written by a civil servant. Answers to written and oral questions are published in Hansard.
Parliament cannot dismiss individual ministers (though members or a House may call for their resignation, or formally resolve to reduce their salary by a nominal amount), but the House of Representatives is able to determine the fate of the entire Government. If a vote of no confidence in the Government passes, then the King will seek to restore confidence either by a dissolution of Parliament and the election of a new one, or by the acceptance of the resignation of his entire government.
In Great Morstaybishlia's parliamentary system, the executive is not separate from the legislature, since Cabinet members are drawn from Parliament.
The combined effect of the Prime Minister's ability to control Cabinet by circumventing effective discussion in Cabinet and the executive's ability to dominate parliamentary proceedings places the Morstaybishlian Prime Minister in a position of great power.
See also: Second Barvata ministry
|Great Offices of State|
First Lord of the Treasury
Minister for the Civil Service
|Other cabinet ministers|
Minister for Women and Equalities
|Pevance Sfiso Kind|