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Cabinet of the United Kingdom

In British politics, the Cabinet is comprised of the most senior government ministers, most of them heads of government departments with the title "Secretary of State". They meet on a regular basis, usually weekly, to discuss government policy, and are bound by "collective responsibility" for their decisions. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is "first among equals" in the Cabinet, but also has the power to appoint and dismiss its members.

In the United Kingdom's parliamentary system, the executive is not separate from the legislature. The cabinet is drawn entirely from members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and almost entirely from the former. Members of the cabinet are answerable to Parliament, and must be available to answer questions in Parliament, but Parliament can only dismiss them collectively.

The official opposition party (the party with the second largest number of elected members of Parliament) is headed by a similar group called the Shadow Cabinet.

The current Cabinet (June 12, 2003) consists of:

In a controversial reshuffle on June 12, 2003, it was announced, without prior consultation, that the government intended to abolish the ancient office of Lord Chancellor and combine it with the posts of Secretary of State for Scotland[?] and Secretary of State for Wales in the new Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs[?]. This would leave Scotland and Wales without cabinet-level ministers in the Commons, so responsibility for those nations was given to Alistair Darling[?] and Peter Hain respectively. They will use the titles of Secretary of State for Scotland and for Wales despite not being the heads of those departments, which are being absorbed into the new Department for Constitutional Afairs[?].

See also: cabinet (government)

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