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Episode 15: Collective Ministerial Responsibility: The Imperfections of Unity

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

This February, the Consti Team looks into governmental loyalty in the Executive. It explains the responsibilities of Ministers and digs deep specifically into the constitutional responsibility of being a collective. The importance of said responsibility is also brought forward. The demerits of Cabinet unity is then observed as contrast, to which international illustrations are given.

1.0. INTRODUCTION


1.1. Definition of Ministerial Responsibility


The Oxford Dictionary of Law defines ministerial responsibility as the responsibility to Parliament of the Cabinet collectively and of individual ministers for their own decisions and the conduct of their departments.[1] Ministerial responsibility has also been interpreted similarly by constitutional jurists.


Marshall and Moodie describe it as the responsibility of ministers for the general conduct of government, including the exercise of many powers legally vested in the Monarch; and ultimately, through Parliament and parties, to the electorate. ‘Within a democratic state, those who govern should be accountable, or responsible, to whom they govern’ was the definition provided by Professor Wade Bradley.[2]


Ultimately, the doctrine serves to preserve the democratic principle of check and balance, particularly between the executive and legislative branches of government.


Alongside the evolution of governmental and political landscapes, the doctrine of ministerial responsibility too has evolved to include two limbs, namely individual ministerial responsibility and collective ministerial responsibility.


1.2. Individual Ministerial Responsibility in the United Kingdom


Ministers sitting in Parliament are perceived as the face or political head of their ministries. Former British Home Secretary, Lord Morrision, stated that from a policy and administrative point of view, Ministers hold responsibility for the policies, decisions, and acts or lack thereof, of the ministries they represent, regardless of the true amount of their involvement in the making of such policies, decisions or acts. His acceptance of responsibility is during parliamentary debates, motions, or question time where he must answer questions, supply information, and justify his department’s decisions. In addition, it is also his acceptance of any votes of censure passed against him. This vicarious liability preserves the anonymity of the civil service and shields them from parliamentary attacks.[3]


This is best illustrated in the Crichel Down Affair in 1954. The area of Crichel Down was transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture to be used for farming after the Second World War. The husband of the owner of Crichel Estates – an estate part of Crichel Down – wanted to reclaim the land, but was denied by the Commision in charge. The investigating officer of the land was also told by the Commission to treat the matter as one of ‘great confidentiality’. A report released by the Commission, after being additionally pressed by the husband, Mr Marten, also contained a myriad of inaccuracies and was unchecked by the Ministry. When the issue came to light due to a public inquiry by Mr Marten, the Minister of Agriculture accepted the blame and resigned.[4]


In his personal capacity, a Minister is also answerable to Parliament in matters of personal conduct such as his integrity. For instance, then-Minister of War of the United Kingdom (‘UK’), John Pofumo, was found in contempt of Parliament after lying about his affair with a prostitute. The discovery led to his resignation. Said resignation was more on his denial in the House of Commons than the affair itself, displaying the individual responsibility of a member of the executive.[5]


In the name of constitutional monarchy, a Minister would also be politically responsible for the Monarch’s formal acts in which the Minister is involved in. As the leader and face of his ministry, he is to open the debate in his departmental matters during the legislative process.


The latter, further elaborated below, entails the joint responsibility of Cabinet members in portraying a unified front to the public as members, not of Parliament or their champion political party, but of the executive.


1.3. Collective Ministerial Responsibility & Its Inheritance by the Malaysian Government


The doctrine of collective ministerial responsibility dates back to nineteenth century Britain, during which governments had limited power and it was feared that individual ministers could influence the decisions of the government as a whole by exercising their power over smaller ministries or departments under their care for personal gain.[6] While the governmental and political landscape in England have since changed, this doctrine remains a fundamental constitutional principle in the British Westminster parliamentary system, based on a body of constitutional conventions and established by precedents, rather than on positive statutes.[7]


Upon independence, Malaysia adopted the parliamentary style of government from the UK. Consequently, the doctrine of ministerial responsibility was also acknowledged and adopted into our parliamentary government. To illustrate, collective ministerial responsibility is explicitly acknowledged in Article 43(3) of the Federal Constitution. Individual ministerial responsibility on the other hand is founded on unwritten conventions (inherited from Britain) and political norms.[8] As it is not authoritatively written down in the Federal Constitution or any legal authority, it cannot be enforced by legal sanctions, although it is political practice that such doctrine is generally adhered to.


2.0. COLLECTIVE CABINET RESPONSIBILITY


2.1. Definition of Collective Responsibility


As aforementioned, the collective ministerial responsibility refers to the age-old English constitutional convention which denotes that the entire Cabinet is unanimous in terms of decision-making. Once a decision is made by the Cabinet, all members of the Cabinet are bound by convention and are to publicly support the decision. It was best expressed by Lord Salisbury as the principle that ‘absolute responsibility is undertaken by every member of the Cabinet, who, after a decision is arrived at, remains a member of it, that the joint responsibility of Ministers to Parliament can be upheld…’[9]


The case of Dato' Dr Zambry v Dato’ Seri Ir Hj Mohammad Nizar defines collective responsibility as the Executive Council acting unanimously even when all its members do not agree on an issue.[10]


2.2. Principles of Collective Responsibility


Albeit the precise definition above, English Constitutional Law Professor de Smith has said, ‘it is not wise to attempt to define in a constitutional document what exactly collective responsibility means, because the outlines of the concept are so vague and blurred’.[11] Many scholars have attempted to distil this general concept. There are a few main principles that can be derived from collective ministerial responsibility:[12]


  1. All the Ministers are collectively responsible to Parliament, and

  2. If one refuses to accept the views of his colleagues, it is expected of him to resign.


The first principle is, as simply put, showing public support despite severe dissent. The second explains the rationale for the need for confidentiality of Cabinet meetings. Only in secrecy can Ministers truly express their views — whether for or against a proposal. When in public, all members must defend the policies decided by the Cabinet.[13]


This was reiterated in the Court of Appeal case Dato’ Dr Zambry, along with a cheeky comparison with Dumas’ philosophy held by the three musketeers – one for all, and all for one.[14]


2.3. Malaysian Application of Collective Responsibility


In Malaysia, collective ministerial responsibility is enshrined in Article 43(3) of the Federal Constitution. It denotes that ‘the Cabinet is collectively responsible to Parliament’. Hence, the doctrine is not a mere convention or a political ideology with no binding effect. It enjoys constitutional protection.


The Prime Minister (‘PM’) has the prerogative to decide how collective responsibility is enforced, when a contravention occurs.[15] Uncalled public criticism may be met by the chagrin of the PM. For instance, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi suspended Datuk S. Sothinathan from his duties as Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment in 2005 for publicly criticising the government’s withdrawal of recognition of Ukrainian medical degrees.[16]


On the other end of the spectrum, Prime Ministers may choose not to quell such indiscipline. In the UK, prior to his own stint as PM, Boris Johnson openly made his disagreements clear about Theresa May’s stance of a ‘soft Brexit’. May did not choose to suspend his post in spite of such disparaging statements.[17] These instances point back to the fact that the Cabinet is not ‘collective’ per se, as the Prime Minister being inter pares, can decide how the collective ministerial responsibility is enforced. Even so, a lack of sanctions against breaches of collective responsibility could point to clear divisions within the Cabinet — leading to a loss of public sentiment.


Collective ministerial responsibility also encompasses individual ministerial responsibility. Ministers, acting within their portfolio, must make decisions based on partisan interest. Paradoxically, Constitutional Law expert Datuk Emeritus Prof Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi also contends that collective responsibility could hinder individual ministerial responsibility. If a Minister is under fire for a scandal under his personal capacity, other Cabinet members would come to the rescue. Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, as the Works Minister, was under serious criticism for being involved in construction projects tainted with corruption. In spite of that, the Cabinet protected him, arguing those guilty were the contractor and engineers, not the Minister.[18]


This raises an important question: does collective responsibility work in Malaysia? Do we hold the government accountable for faulty policies? There are many instances in which the government of the day avoids collective ministerial responsibility by pinning the blame on other individuals or bodies outside of the Cabinet. Employing a more recent example, the National Security Council (‘NSC’) was enacted under the National Security Council Act 2016, tasked with managing the issue of the global pandemic. During the pandemic, the NSC became one of the most integral parts of the country in managing citizens. As their role seems much more vital and hands-on compared to Ministers, the NSC was blamed for most decisions made during the pandemic.


The establishment of bodies such as the NSC should not be a smokescreen that allows Ministers to evade accountability. The Act itself places decision-making authority in the hands of the PM, and the NSC merely assumes the role of an advisor. From a constitutional perspective, liability still devolves upon the Cabinet, regardless of how much blame is shifted.[19]


The collective cabinet responsibility has emerged itself in only one local case, being the case of Dato’ Dr Zambry.[20] It was held that the collective responsibility of the members of the Executive Council of Perak does not depend on what was practised by other jurisdictions, including the UK. Instead, it is provided explicitly by the Perak State Constitution in Article XVI(5). This proviso states that ‘the Executive Council shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly’, akin to Article 43(3) of the Federal Constitution. Court rejected the argument that the existence of the responsibility means a vote of no confidence must be passed in the Legislative Assembly itself, to ascertain the amount of ‘confidence’.


Additionally, the party whip system also showcases a form of cabinet unanimity. A party whip is an official appointed by political parties to enforce discipline among party members. Their responsibilities include making sure that party members vote in accordance with the party’s united stance.[21]


A well-known example in 2006 was Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Sahmad, the then chairman of the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club, resigning after he supported a motion brought by the opposition, explaining the resignation himself as necessary.[22] Not long ago, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as the then-Chief Whip stated clearly that Barisan Nasional’s official policy was to oppose any motions brought by the opposition.[23] The then-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi also issued a formal directive later that all MPs of Barisan Nasional were obliged to follow the direction of the coalition.[24] In total, party whips provide a similar effect as collective cabinet responsibility by enforcing collectivism in the government.


2.4. Importance of Collective Responsibility


Firstly, collective cabinet responsibility is significant because it guarantees a strong and stable government. A weak unstable government is displayed if the members of the Cabinet are not publicised to be allied brothers and sisters.[25] They would be consequently subjected to opposition attacks and challenges, which could potentially result in a governmental collapse.[26]


Such a display of instability and fragility would additionally trigger underlying voices of the public in that the government is unreliable. Constant differing opinions result in public confusion and erodes confidence towards the government. This was the story of the previous Pakatan Harapan government, where ministers broke rank and publicly voiced different stances on controversial issues including, inter alia, the khat lessons implementation, the Lynas company shutdown, the deportation of controversial speaker Dr Zakir Naik.[27] Inevitably, the failure of adhering to the collective cabinet responsibility gives Malaysians the impression that the government is divided and flimsy.


Furthermore, it is vital as it ensures privacy of Cabinet discussions. This is safeguarded by the second abovementioned principle of the doctrine.[28] A member of the Cabinet is barred from disclosing any information from the Cabinet discussion. Former Ministers are also prohibited from revealing anything that injures the country's relationship with other countries or any matters related to national security in his personal memoir.[29] This secrecy secures two benefits. Firstly, it gives freedom to discuss every issue frankly with the knowledge that all views are to only remain among themselves, subsequently improving discussion quality via divergent ideas being expressed without restriction.[30] Secondly, it prevents potential leakage of national secrets. Undisputedly, the government of the day is provided with a myriad of national secrets to aid their governmental conquest. Ergo, such confidentiality is to prevent unwanted national exposure and embarrassment.[31]


Arguably the most important consequence of such loyalty is to prevent backbench revolts. Backbench revolts can be exemplified by the vote on the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Covid-19 measures two months ago. In this context, his policies faced rebellions from backbenchers of his own party. One of the most seizable rebellions can be observed when 96 Conservatives voted against the implementation of vaccine passports. At last, the British Head of Executive had to depend on votes from the Labours to pass his measures.[32]


Likewise, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron also faced backbench rebellions over the European Union membership referendum. His government was defeated by 27 votes when 37 Conservatives cooperated with the Scottish National Party and Labour to vote against their own party.[33] If collective cabinet responsibility is enforced strictly, it prohibits the executive members from voting against the cabinet’s decision. Thus, it prevents a vote that was brought by the government from failing in Parliament. Backbench revolts create uncertainty and distrust in government – something undoubtedly not needed.


3.0. SUSPENDING CABINET RESPONSIBILITY


3.1. Disadvantage of Collective Responsibility


From the above, the responsibility may appear to be flawless. However, such a description may not be accurate. The first of its flaws include internal cabinet debates being hidden from the public. Citizens are kept out of how governmental decisions and policies are reached. A core of collective responsibility is that all ministers present a united front with only one voice, leaving citizens foggy in the Ministers’ true view of said decision or policy. Dissenting ministers are left with only three alternatives: keep quiet about it, resign, or merely have their dissents recorded in cabinet minutes.[34]


In addition, such cabinet secrecy jeopardises Parliament scrutiny as ministers may refuse to answer questions on grounds of secrecy, national security, foreign relations and other reasons. If Parliament is held back from extracting information, the policies cannot be effectively reviewed and the relevant minister cannot be held accountable.[35] For instance, in TheCabinet Office v Information Commissioner and Lamb,[36] the respondents seeked disclosure of all minutes and records of cabinet meetings and deliberation regarding military action against Iraq. The Cabinet Office, relying on Section 35 of Freedom of Information Act 2000, argued on the basis of ministerial confidentiality as the cabinet documents are ministerial communications and therefore, confidential under the British convention. The Upper Tribunal, by a majority decision, held in favour of the respondents, agreeing that the cabinet documents should be disclosed due to public interest and transparency. Unfortunately, Justice Secretary Jack Straw vetoed the tribunal’s decision under section 53 of FIA 2000 on the reason of confidentiality under the convention, fully preventing the extraction of the information.


Furthermore, it makes it difficult for Parliament to identify a Minister’s level of culpability in their policies, during question time or parliamentary debates. Collective responsibility emphasises on party solidarity and party wishes rather than a Minister’s own personal consciences.[37] Once a decision is reached by the PM in a cabinet meeting, it binds all the MPs who are in support of the government regardless of any dissent of their own.[38]


Another deficiency is that it defeats the ministerial responsibility of individual ministerial responsibility. As mentioned above, as long as the Minister retains support from the PM, the Minister is safe notwithstanding its reprehensibility which dents the government’s standing severely.[39] Therefore, it is clear that collective responsibility may override a minister’s individual responsibility so long the Minister continues to support the government’s policy.


Lastly, a strict enforcement of the responsibility would promote payroll voting as Ministers with a role in the House of Representatives not expressing their dissent, in fear of being reshuffled. This is because the PM may reshuffle a cabinet to ensure loyalty is served.[40] For example, Theresa May sacking Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson due to a leakage of confidential cabinet documents.[41] Similarly, in 1981, past British PM Margaret Thatcher reshuffled her cabinet by dismissing two cabinet critics of her economic policies, Education Secretary Mark Carlisle and Sir Ian Gilmour as well as moving James Prior, from the Employment Ministry to the Northern Ireland Office forcefully.[42] Thus, it is clearly seen to cultivate an intimidating atmosphere for any dissenting Ministers to refrain from criticising or expressing disagreement.


3.2. International Instances of Suspending Collective Responsibility


The principle of collective ministerial responsibility is practised in many parliamentary democratic nations. There have been international attempts to balance this doctrine with protecting the interest of the public. Thus, the question at hand is to what extent does cabinet confidentiality interfere with the openness and accountability of the government which eventually affects the lives of the people. Below are some countries which have reflected this issue, and set the responsibility aside.


In the UK, it is clearly stated in the Ministerial Code as it provides its application to all Government Ministers.[43] The Code expressly mentions:


‘The principle of collective responsibility requires that Ministers should be able to express their views frankly in the expectation that they can argue freely in private while maintaining a united front when decisions have been reached.’


In 1975, the doctrine was temporarily suspended by Harold Wilson to allow the cabinet ministers to campaign for and against the referendum on whether the UK should remain in the European Economic Community.[44] In 2003, Tony Blair allowed a minister to remain in the cabinet despite their opposition to the Iraq war.[45] During the EU referendum in 2016, David Cameron announced it for the referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union to take place. During this, while the cabinet formally agreed to campaign to stay, there were several ministers who openly supported the campaign to leave the EU, popularly known as Brexit. David Cameron had also affirmed that ministers in his cabinet have the choice to openly campaign for Brexit.[46]


In Ireland, the Constitution states ‘The Government shall meet and act as a collective authority, and shall be collectively responsible for the Departments of State administered by the members of the Government.’[47] This provision has been contested on grounds that it stands in the way of governmental accountability as in The Attorney General v. Liam Hamilton.[48]In this case, the Tribunal of Inquiry was investigating allegations of corruption. They hoped to obtain evidence from a minister who had made controversial proposals during a cabinet meeting. However, the Irish Supreme Court held that discussions made during cabinet meetings could not be disclosed as Article 28 guarantees absolute confidentiality of cabinet discussions. This may impede attempts for accountability for any possible transgressions in the Cabinet. An amendment was made to the Irish Constitution in 1997 to allow disclosures from cabinet meetings in exceptional circumstances.


Other Commonwealth countries also place weightage towards collective ministerial responsibility. In Australia, the doctrine is not legally enshrined in the Constitution but it is a norm and convention to follow this principle to promote governmental unity. Examples of the convention being put away temporarily include the 1999 republican referendum where MPs were authorised to vote in line with their personal decisions which are not in favour of their party’s decisions. Although no direct laws exist to enforce collective responsibility, statutes such as the Freedom of Information Act 1982 exempts Cabinet documents to be subject to release upon request.[49] Such provisions are not static as there are motions for a more transparent government through reforms of governmental mechanisms such as the creation of codes of conduct and administrative laws. Hence, an amendment was made under the aforementioned act to allow for the release of Cabinet documents under special circumstances.


Canada describes the responsibility as the ‘hinge of the Constitution’.[50] A minister acting as a servant of the Crown is answerable to the Parliament. Collective ministerial responsibility in Canada can be observed through resignation or dissolution if a matter of confidence is not in their favour. This can be seen when a cabinet minister, John Turner, had resigned from his position after he refused to support the Anti-Inflation Act.[51] Rare occasions in which cabinet ministers are allowed to vote based on their conscience can be seen in the vote to reinstate capital punishment under Brian Mulroney’s premiership.[52] What can be observed in those instances is that personal freedom for ministers to make decisions is allowed when it involves matters of human rights, such as the issue of death penalty, which involves the right to life.


Meanwhile in Finland by virtue of their Constitution, collective responsibility is enshrined in which all ministers are responsible for all actions made by the government.[53] However, they will not be liable if they have made an objection towards a particular decision which has been recorded in their cabinet minutes as stated in the Constitution.[54] Thus, dissent in the cabinet is rare to prevent jeopardy towards governmental stability.[55]


4.0 CONCLUSION


As observed above, our Ministers are not only tasked with the duty of being a legislator, but they also owe a duty to their fellow legislators in Parliament and subsequently to Malaysia as a member of the Executive branch of government. Their responsibilities come twofold: one, as an individual Minister; and two, as a collective group. Originally no more than a convention capable of being disregarded, albeit its societal consequences, the collective responsibility the whole Cabinet owes Parliament has been codified into the supreme law of the land.


The power it holds, as a constitutional provision, matches but a few. The need to be loyal to the Executive family is strong. Surrendering their ministerial position along with its perks and power is what follows a breach of said loyalty. This is evident in Article 43(3) itself where the word collective emerges. Their responsibility to the Parliament is collective: as one entity, not in isolation. Just ask Datuk S. Sothinathan or Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, for instance.


Nevertheless, the principles of a collective cabinet in Parliament does present itself with limitations. The people of Malaysia are excluded from the policymaking process. Though the matter has yet to reach the national legislature for a debate, with the majority of seats already obtained by the Federal Executive, the making of it is almost a certainty. The essence of secrecy further makes Ministers truly untouchable in Parliament, with the justification of ‘national security’ simply at the tip of the tongue. Malaysians are also at loss on which Minister actually believes in the proposed idea or action and who does not. With the portrayal of one course of action, allegedly agreed by them all, the people simply are unable to tell who in truth believes what is being said. Indubitably, a Minister’s responsibility towards his Ministry and departments under the Ministry have been unfortunately overridden by the executive devotion. It is also regrettable that the responsibility promotes payroll voting. Fear of losing a seat at the adult’s table have caused Ministers to forgo their duty to the public.


This constitutional construction of devotion is not perfect, as seen above. Yet, even Plato admits perfection is an ideal.[56] Thus, its imperfections should be accepted with its benefits. Collective responsibility warrants a solid steady government fit to handle the peoples’ problems. With that impression, public confidence skyrocket and peoples’ worries are constrained to simpler issues. When push comes to shove, it is more important to ensure national secrets are kept as, as per its namesake, secrets. One can only imagine the doom that comes if gaps within governmental systems are evident. This could certainly happen if Cabinet discussions, meetings, files, amongst others, are produced. Hence, Cabinet unity may be imperfect. Nonetheless, it is what is needed.


References


[1] Oxford University Press. (2018). Ministerial responsibility. In Oxford Dictionary of Law (9th ed., p. 438).


[2] Ahmad Masum. (2012). The Doctrine of Ministerial Responsibility in Malaysia: Theory and Practice in a New Regime of Parliamentary Accountability. Malayan Law Journal Articles, 4, clvi, clxi.


[3] Barnett, H. (2006) Constitutional and Administrative Law. (6th Ed). Abingdon: Routledge-Cavendish, 285.


[4] CHAPTER 2: MINISTERIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CIVIL SERVICE. www.parliament.uk. Retrieved from <https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldselect/ldconst/61/6105.htm>. Accessed on 20 January 2022.


[5] See footnote 3.


[6] See footnote 2.


[7] Munro, A. (2016, November 23). Ministerial responsibility. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from <https://www.britannica.com/topic/ministerial-responsibility>. Accessed on 25 January 2022.


[8] See footnote 2.


[9] Parliamentary Debates, Commons, 8 Apr 1878, 239, 833-834 (Lord Salisbury).


[10]Dato' Dr Zambry bin Abd Kadir v Dato' Seri Ir Hj Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin (Attorney General of Malaysia, intervener) [2009] 5 MLJ 464, 380.


[11] de Smith, S. A. (1985). Constitutional and Administrative Law. (5th ed.). London: Penguin Books.


[12] Hickling, R. H. (1982). An Introduction to the Federal Constitution. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Law Publishers.


[13] Sultan Azlan Shah. (2004). Constitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good Governance. Selangor Darul Ehsan: Sweet & Maxwell Asia.


[14] See footnote 10, 382.


[15] Xavier, J. A. (2020, Jan 16). Getting cabinet to speak as one. Retrieved from <https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/01/556877/getting-cabinet-speak-one>. New Straits Times. Site accessed on 21 Feb 2022.


[16] See footnote 15 above.


[17] See footnote 15 above.


[18] Shad Saleem Faruqi. (2014). Revisiting ministerial responsibility. Malaysian Bar. Retrieved from <https://www.malaysianbar.org.my/article/news/legal-and-general-news/legal-news/revisiting-ministerial-responsibility>. Site accessed on 21 Feb 2022.

[19] Shukri Shahizam. (2021, Jul 29). Cabinet Collective Irresponsibility. Malaysian Public Law. Retrieved from <https://malaysianpubliclaw.com/Cabinet-collective-irresponsibility/>. Site accessed on 21 Feb 2022.


[20] See footnote 10, 556.


[21] UK Parliament. Whips. UK Parliament. Retrieved from <www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/principal/whips/>. Site accessed on 18 Feb 2022.


[22] Yi, B. H. (2006, May 4). Shahrir quits as BBC chief after MPs failed to support an ‘integrity’ motion. Malaysiakini. Retrieved from <https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/50588>. Site accessed on 18 Feb 2022.


[23] Chok, S. L. (2005, Oct 4). MPs in the dock. New Straits Times, p 1, 6.


[24] Megan, M.K., & Leslie, A. (2006 May 9). Abdullah: Vote along party lines. New Straits Times, p. 4.


[25] See footnote 10, 555.


[26] Refer to footnote 3, 220.


[27] Sankaran, C. (2019 Sep 5). Ministerial responsibility in new M’sia - shining light or Stygian gloom? Malaysiakini. Retrieved from <https://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/490751>. Site accessed on 18 Feb 2022.


[28] Refer to footnote 3, 221.


[29] Refer to footnote 3, 223.


[30] Refer to footnote 28.


[31] Refer to footnote 10, 556.


[32] Tidey, A., & Hurst, L. (2021 Dec 17). UK: MPs vote for new COVID measures, amid rebellion against PM Boris Johnson. Euronews. Retrieved from <https://www.euronews.com/2021/12/14/omicron-boris-johnson-braces-for-mp-rebellion-against-latest-covid-measures>. Site accessed on 18 Feb 2022.


[33] Mason, R. (2015 Sep 7). EU referendum: David Cameron suffers defeat in parliament over ‘purdah’ rules. The Guardian. Retrieved from <https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/07/eu-referendum-david-cameron-suffers-defeat-in-parliament-over-purdah-rules>. Site accessed on 18 Feb 2022.


[34] See footnote 2, clxv.


[35] See footnote 34 above.


[36]TheCabinet Office v Information Commissioner and Lamb [2016] UKUT 476 (AAC).


[37] See footnote 2, clxvii.


[38] See footnote 3, 281.


[39] See footnote 2, clxviii.


[40] Indridason, I. H., & Kam, C. (2008). Cabinet Reshuffles and Ministerial Drift. British Journal of Political Science, 38(4), 621, 625. Retrieved from <http://www.jstor.org/stable/27568368>. Site accessed on 22 Feb 2022.


[41] Sparrow, A., & Avery, C. (2019, May 1) Gavin Williamson sacked as defence secretary for Huawei leak – as it happened. The Guardian. Retrieved from <https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2019/may/01/brexit-latest-news-pmqs-may-liaison-pm-to-face-questions-from-mps-amid-claims-she-is-preparing-for-deal-with-labour-live-news>. Site accessed on 22 Feb 2022.


[42] Dallas, R. (1981, Sept 15). Thatcher Reshuffles Cabinet, Fires Three. The Washington Post. Retrieved from <https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1981/09/15/thatcher-reshuffles-cabinet-fires-three/802b0eaa-bba4-450f-8b7d-1995a2fc58fa/>. Site accessed on 22 Feb 2022.


[43] Ministerial Code (United Kingdom) s 2.


[44] Langdon, D. (2015, June 10). EU referendum: Parallels with 1975. BBC News. Retrieved from.

<https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-33045935>. Site accessed on 25 Feb 2022.


[45] Short, C. (2016, Jul 6). Clare Short, who resigned in protests, says she still has regrets. The New York Times. Retrieved from <https://www.nytimes.com/live/britain-inquiry-iraq-war/clare-short/>. Site accessed on 25 Feb 2022.


[46] (2016, Jun 22). EU vote: Where the cabinet and other MPs stand. BBC News. Retrieved from <https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35616946>. Site accessed on 25 Feb 2022.


[47] Constitution (Ireland) art 28.


[48]The Attorney General v. Liam Hamilton [1993] 3 IR 307.

[49] Rodrigues, M. (2010, May 28). Cabinet confidentiality. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved from <https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/0910/CabinetConfidentiality>. Site accessed on 23 Feb 2022.


[50] de Smith. (2006). Clarifying the doctrine of ministerial responsibility as it applies to the government and parliament of Canada. Restoring accountability: Parliament, ministers and deputy ministers. Volume 1. Retrieved from <https://www.cbc.ca/news2/background/groupaction/v2fullreport/CISPAA_Vol1_4.pdf>. Site accessed on 23 Feb 2022.


[51] Colby, K. (1975, Sept 11). John Turner: A surprise resignation. CBC News. Retrieved from <https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/a-surprise-resignation>. Site accessed on 22 Feb 2022.


[52] Bradley, J. (1987, June 30). Parliament rejects reinstatement of capital punishment. Associate Press. Retrieved from <https://apnews.com/article/a18a610fb5a02c14acd39b87fe804354>. Site accessed on 23 Feb 2022.


[53] Constitution (Finland) s 67.


[54] Muller, W. C. (2006). Delegation and accountability in parliamentary democracies. OUP Oxford, 315.


[55] Singleton, F. (1982). Finland after Kekkonen. The World Today. Vol. 38. No. 3. Retrieved from <https://www.jstor.org/stable/40395366>. Site accessed on 23 Feb 2022.


[56] Johnson, S. (2008, Feb 4). There’s no such thing as perfect. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from <https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2008-02-04-0802040017-story.html>. Site accessed on 27 Feb 2022.

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