PinkMonkey Online Study Guide-World History
9.5 Rise of a Responsible Council Of Ministers
Another important development was that of the responsible Council of Ministers, then referred to as the Cabinet. There was a gradual development of the cabinet. This has been called "the very pivot of government", by Professor F.C. Montague.
The king had to choose as Ministers those who commanded the confidence of the House of Commons that is those who held the opinions of the majority in the House. Thus began the practice of selecting ministers from the party, which enjoyed the majority support in the House of Commons.
According to the Act of Settlement (1701), the House of
Hanover came to power, after the Stuarts. Since King George
I did not know English, he was the first king who stayed away from
these meetings, giving rise to the custom that the cabinet meets
together, apart form the sovereign.
In the absence of the king, another President had to be chosen. The minister who was most respected by the party was naturally selected as the leader. Thus, the Prime Minister was the leader of the party, commanding majority support of the House of Commons. In this sense, Sir Robert Walpole was the first Prime Minister and during his long term of office (1721-1742), he worked as the mouthpiece of the ministry in Parliament, as well as in the royal closet, according to Professor F.C. Montague.
After his defeat in the House of Commons in 1742, Sir Robert Walpole resigned as the Prime Minister thus establishing the practice that the Prime Minister and his cabinet were responsible to the House of Commons in Parliament.