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Prime Ministers and the Constitution

The first Prime Minister to carry out significant constitutional reform was the Duke of Wellington. Wellington was an unlikely figure to be associated with constitutional changes – he was a deeply conservative and aristocratic politician, a defender of the British ‘Protestant …

Prime Ministers and their Foreign Secretaries

On New Year’s Day 1814, the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Castlereagh, set sail from Harwich for Holland with a challenging brief: to build a coalition with Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Sweden to finally bring an end to the French Empire …

Margaret Thatcher and the Joint Intelligence Committee

Soon after taking office a new Prime Minister receives special briefings from the Cabinet Secretary. One is on the ‘letters of last resort’, which give instructions to the commander of the British submarine on patrol with the nuclear deterrent, in the …

Prime Ministers and their Chancellors

The connection between Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer is probably the most important, and potentially the most problematic, of all ministerial relationships. Foreign Secretaries and Home Secretaries can be powerful figures, and yet they rarely have the capacity …