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responsible government

The term responsible government is often used to describe the relationship between the government —the premier and other ministers —and the legislative assembly in British style parliamentary systems .  It refers to the fact that the political executive—the premier and ministers—are chosen from and accountable to an elected parliament.  In this respect it is a synonym for parliamentary government .

Responsible government also suggests that ministers are individually and collectively responsible to parliament for the actions of government.  This is true in a broad sense—the government will be held accountable for its actions at the next general election —but it is less true if it implies that ministers will be held to account for their actions by parliament.  The existence of disciplined political parties has meant that ministers can usually escape punishment for reckless or incompetent actions by themselves or their departments by blaming an advisor or a public servant.  Punishment is only meted out to ministers if the premier (or prime minister) assesses that the minister has become a political liability to the government as a whole.  Note that governments are more sensitive to parliamentary criticism and ministers are more likely to be forced into resignation if the government is a minority government .
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