United Kingdom Cabinet Committee
The executive arm of the United Kingdom government is controlled by the Cabinet, a group of senior government ministers chaired by the Prime Minister. Most of the day-to-day work of Cabinet government is carried out by Cabinet committees, rather than by the full Cabinet. Each committee has its own area of responsibility, and their decisions are binding on the entire Cabinet.
The details of the committee structure and membership are at the discretion of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is free to reorganize committees and their responsibilities however he wishes, and can appoint or dismiss members freely. The sole limitation is the requirement that Cabinet ministers must be sworn members of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, since the Cabinet itself is a committee of the Privy Council.
Although there have been many changes since the Cabinet committee system was first developed in the early twentieth century, the committees for foreign and military policy, domestic policy, economic policy, and the government's legislative agenda have been more or less permanent fixtures. These and many other committees are standing committees, which have a broad remit; others are ad-hoc committees, which are established to deal with specific matters. Ad-hoc committees are rarer now than throughout most of the twentieth century. Many matters are now expected to be resolved bilaterally between departments, or through more informal discussion, rather than requiring the formation of a committee.
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“Any committee that is the slightest use is composed of people who are too busy to want to sit on it for a second longer than they have to.”
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