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A Cabinet rank refers to a ministerial position in Government of the United Kingdom, the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Officials in Cabinet are members of the highest decision-making body. They meet regularly and represent the departments in which they lead. Cabinet members advise the monarch as members of the Privy Council. The Ministerial ranking refers to both their line of succession and their ranking over one another.
In the United Kingdom, the top three ministers after the Prime Minister are traditionally the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary. In that order, these four positions are referred to as the Great Offices of State, the most prestigious positions in government. However, the high prestige of these positions has not always run with Cabinet rank. In the modern political era Cabinet rank is decided by the Prime Minister, who releases a list detailing the seniority of all Cabinet ministers. Sometimes positions that one would not expect to be as high ranking as, say, the post of Foreign Secretary can in fact be placed higher than a Great Office of State. For example during the premiership of Gordon Brown, after a Cabinet reshuffle, Peter Mandelson, the Business Secretary, was ranked the 3rd most senior minister out of 23 and outranked all Great Officers of State except the Prime Minister himself. However on several occasions in recent history a First Secretary of State or Deputy Prime Minister has been appointed.
Just as traditionally lower Cabinet jobs can be placed high, traditionally higher positions can be placed low in the rankings such as when Bob Ainsworth (then Secretary of State for Defence) was ranked the 3rd lowest ranking minister in Gordon Brown's Cabinet.
After the 2010 UK election, ministerial rankings returned to a more traditional pattern, with the highest-ranking ministers being those holding the Great Offices of State and holding quite important posts, for example, the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.[clarification needed]
Following the 2015 UK election, Prime Minister, David Cameron's Chancellor, George Osborne was appointed the title of First Secretary. It was speculated that Osborne was going to succeed Cameron as Prime Minister, but, due to the outcome of the Brexit referendum Osborne stated he was "not the person to provide the unity" his party needed.
Following the 2017 United Kingdom general election, in which the number of Conservative MPs fell from 330 to 317, Theresa May appointed Damian Green as her de facto Deputy Prime Minister as First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office and with the ranking of second most senior Cabinet member; above the Chancellor. As a result of sexual misconduct allegations, Green resigned and was replaced by David Lidington as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, he also held the same position of seniority.
The Cabinet ministers are ordered according to their ministerial ranking as follows.
- "MPs and Lords". Her Majesty's Government.