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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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(p.162) 9 Conclusion
Ministers and Parliament


Oxford University Press

The 1980s and early 1990s provided substantial evidence that the convention of individual ministerial responsibility requires resignation for departmental fault in which the minister was involved, or of which he knew or should have known, and for personal fault, either when acting as a minister or without the backing of the department, or in his private capacity. These resignations demonstrate the relationship between constitutional and political factors and the necessity for them to coincide and mutually reinforce before a minister is required to relinquish office. The constitution prescribes that, in cases of serious error in which the minister has been involved, he may be required to resign. However, the application of the rule depends upon both the narrow judgement of whether the ministerial fault is serious enough to warrant resignation, there being no constitutional definition of ‘serious’.

Keywords:   indvidual ministerial responsibility, convention, resignation, departmental fault, constitution, ministers, responsibility, accountability, Parliament, political errors

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