The Foundations of Public Law

Principles and Problems of Power in the British Constitution

by Keith Syrett

Update for Chapter 4: The executive

This update was compiled in January 2013

p.125, paragraph 1

Primary Care Trusts are to be replaced by locally-based Clinical Commissioning Groups by April 2013 as a consequence of the enactment of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

p.130, paragraph 2

It emerged in late 2012 that the heir to the throne had held private meetings with eight ministers over a twelve-month period, discussing a variety of topics. See 'Prince Charles held private meetings with eight ministers in 12 months', The Guardian, 28 December 2012. Questions as to the political neutrality of the Prince were also raised in the context of attempts under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to disclose letters which he had written to ministers. For this, see update for Chapter 6.

Furthermore, as a consequence of a freedom of information request, it was revealed that the requirement to obtain the consent of the monarch and/or the Prince of Wales to proposed legislation which affects the prerogative and estates and revenues of the Crown, the Duchy of Lancaster and the Duchy of Cornwall covered more areas of legislation than was previously thought: see 'Secret papers show extent of senior royals' veto over bills', The Guardian, 15 January 2013.

p.131, n.29

Principles regarding the appointment of a Prime Minister in a 'hung' Parliament are now set out in Cabinet Office, The Cabinet Manual (2011), [2.12] [2.17].


The Bill became law as the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

p.149, n.92

No such Resolution has yet been adopted. However, the Government has indicated that it considers that there is now a convention that the House of Commons will debate and vote upon committing armed forces to conflict abroad, except where an emergency exists and such action would not be appropriate: see Cabinet Office,The Cabinet Manual (2011), [5.38].

p.149, n.95

Now the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

p.153, paragraph 3

As at January 2013, the four junior ministers in the Department of Health had responsibility for care and support, public health, quality, and other matters (including professional regulation, maternity services, nursing and midwifery and medical education and training).

p.155, paragraphs 2 and 3

It has been suggested that ministers should have the final say in selecting candidates for vacancies as Permanent Secretary, selecting from a list drawn up by the Civil Service Commission. Legislation would be required to give this change effect. See 'Let ministers choose their mandarins, says Maude', The Guardian, 11 December 2012.

p.158, paragraph 1

Her Majesty's Courts Service and the Tribunal Service were integrated on 1 April 2011, forming HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

p.159, n.130

Now the Public Bodies Act 2011.

p.163, n.141

Now the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

p.164, n.144

In the Coalition Agreement for Stability and Reform (2010), [2.1], it was stated that 'the principle of collective responsibility, save where it is explicitly set aside, continues to apply to all Government Ministers', notwithstanding that ministers from two different political parties have been in government since 2010. However, the principle was explicitly set aside in respect of the referendum on the electoral system in May 2011 (with Liberal Democrat ministers campaigning for a change in the system, and Conservative ministers against), and 'agreements to differ' have also occurred on issues including university tuition fees and the renewal of the Trident missile system.

p.168, paragraph 2

The response of the Prime Minister to defeat in a vote of confidence is now governed by section 2 of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

p.170, paragraph 2

Now the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

p.171, paragraph 3

The Cabinet Manual (Cabinet Office, 2011) also places a number of constitutional conventions in written form.