How Cabinet and Commons Operate

  • James Cable


To understand how the British political system functions and how it differs from those in other countries, one must first forget about the doctrine of the separation of powers. This idea that the State had three distinct branches — Executive, Legislature and Judiciary — was the result of a misunderstanding by certain French writers, notably Montesquieu, of the British constitution as it existed in the eighteenth century. What these writers should have seen was the usual untidy English muddle of precedent, improvisation and compromise. What they described had been rationalised by their own more logical minds.


Prime Minister Political Institution Common Operate Cabinet Minister Party Discipline 
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© Sir James Cable 1987

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  • James Cable

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