Objectivity and falsehood: assessing measures of positional influence with members of David Cameron’s cabinets

Nora Siklodi, Nicholas Allen

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    Abstract

    This paper analyses the distribution of power among ministers during David Cameron’s premiership. More specifically, it reports both the application of Dunleavy’s measures of positional influence to successive lists of cabinet committees and our efforts validate them by drawing on insider feedback. It charts how the cabinet-committee system changed between 2010 and 2016, and interprets successive rankings of ministerial influence. It further investigates the nature of power in Cameron’s governments by detailing a number of former ministers’ responses to our measures. Those we spoke to were generally sceptical of the importance of cabinet committees and especially of our attempts to derive measures of ministerial influence from them. Overall, our findings emphasise the dangers of attributing too much importance to formal structures and instead draw attention to how contemporary core-executive politics are shaped by informal networks and structures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number0
    Pages (from-to)220-237
    Number of pages18
    JournalBritish Journal of Politics & International Relations
    Volume22
    Issue number2
    Early online date28 Feb 2020
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

    Keywords

    • British government
    • cabinet committees
    • core executive
    • David Cameron
    • positional influence
    • prime ministers
    • realistic interviews

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