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Ministers and ParliamentAccountability in Theory and Practice$
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Diana Woodhouse

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198278924

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198278924.001.0001

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Cases of Non-Resignation: Political Circumstances and Constitutional Obligations

Cases of Non-Resignation: Political Circumstances and Constitutional Obligations

(p.121) 7 Cases of Non-Resignation: Political Circumstances and Constitutional Obligations
Ministers and Parliament


Oxford University Press

The invasion of the Falkland Islands led directly to the resignation of Lord Carrington, Richard Luce, and Humphrey Atkins from the Foreign Office, but John Nott, Secretary of State for Defence, remained in office. His failure to resign has been seen by some as evidence that the Foreign Office resignations were not examples of individual ministerial responsibility, but rather that Carrington, Luce, and Atkins were taking the blame for a collective decision. Nott in the end did resign. At first glance, it may seem that his resignation owed to nothing to the convention of individual ministerial responsibility as he certainly never accepted responsibility. This case as well as some others are presented in this chapter as it is a common area of controversy, giving an example of a case when one refuses to resign to signify his sense of responsibility for the position that he is holding.

Keywords:   failure to resign, resignation, ministers, responsibility, convention, constitutional obligations, John Nott, James Prior

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