Should the UK have Prime Ministerial elections like the Presidential ones held in the USA?

As it currently stands, constituencies are merely able to vote for their local Member of Parliament rather being able to directly choose which leader of a party they wish to see become Prime Minister. Within our current electorate system, although one is able to have a greater choice and ability to effect local happenings, many would prefer to be able to directly choose the Prime Minister themselves. This is largely due to a rise in opinion that the Prime Minister, with a majority in the House of Commons, is no longer being held accountable and, in fact, it is easy for them to come up with the laws which they know will be passed without problems. This is unpopular for some who believe this move into almost an ‘elective dictatorship’ has caused the government to become less democratic. Therefore, if the Prime Minister was directly elected, it would be more democratic on the grounds that they are effectively the main decision maker. Yet, this proposal would not be an entirely popular one. Many people may think that local matters will be neglected, with the main focus on the figure-head leaders. Additionally, many people may see it as not being a good representative of the whole picture because a strong party, with a good cabinet, makes an even better Prime Minister.

Having direct elections for the Prime Minister will not solve the problem of having ‘safe’ seats or areas because there will always be areas which are crucial since they could swing either way. Another advantage seen by a change in the electorate system would be the simplification of national politics for the future and developing generations. It would provide a much easier system to understand and interpret, two candidates, one question: Who do you want to become Prime Minister? Therefore, hopefully, this change in system would increase young people to become more politically involved and many people, who are frozen out and unable to fully understand the current complex system, would actually be able to put their own views forward and shape how the country is governed. Furthermore, this should cause an increase in voters, largely, because it should increase the feeling that each vote counts rather than if you favour a party which is opposing a constituency where another party holds a safe seat. An increase in the number of people voting is hugely beneficial because it creates a much greater representation of what the whole nation thinks and wants to happen.

Overall, perhaps a change in vote for Prime Minister will be too brash for many conservative thinkers and is unlikely to be passed or voted in. However, the clear problem at hand, that the Prime Minister having too much power, can be tackled in alternative ways. For instance, many view a codified UK constitution being able to limit the Prime Minister’s power effectively and make sure the House of Commons is the body which is actually passing the laws and notions put forward by the PM rather than just nodding its head at everything the Prime Minister wants due to the majority their party holds.

Contributed by Joshua Graham

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