Minister for the Cabinet Office

The minister for the Cabinet Office is a position in the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom. The minister is responsible for the work and policies of the Cabinet Office, and since February 2022, reports to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The position is currently the third highest ranking minister in the Cabinet Office, after the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.[2]

Minister for the Cabinet Office
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Official portrait of Edward Argar MP.jpg
Edward Argar

since 6 September 2022 (2022-09-06)
Cabinet Office
StyleThe Right Honourable
Member ofCabinet (Since February 2022 the role attends Cabinet but not as a full member)[1]
Privy Council
National Security Council
Reports toPrime Minister of the United Kingdom
SeatWestminster, London
AppointerThe Monarch
on the advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthNo fixed term

From the Second May ministry until mid-2019 when the First Johnson ministry came to power, it functioned as an alternative title to Deputy Prime Minister or First Secretary of State. This practice ended when Dominic Raab was appointed as First Secretary of State on 24 July 2019, by Boris Johnson. Since a reshuffle in February 2022, the role attends Cabinet but not as a full member.[3]

The corresponding shadow minister is the shadow minister for the Cabinet Office.

Function and statusEdit

The Cabinet Office has a primary responsibility to support the work of the Prime Minister and ensure the effective running of government.[4] Within this set-up, the Minister for the Cabinet Office has been seen to have varying responsibilities and stature in the government. The role is a flexible one and has variously been described as one or several of the following under different office-holders (and sometimes conflicting accounts of the status of the same office holder):[5]

  • Monitoring the co-ordination of the work of government departments
  • Chairing or sitting on several Cabinet Committees
  • An additional title to indicate special responsibility
  • An additional title to indicate seniority

The government describes the minister for the Cabinet Office as being "in overall charge of and responsible for the policy and work of the department, and attends Cabinet".[6]

Damian Green held the office in 2017, simultaneously with the office of First Secretary of State. Green chaired numerous Cabinet Committees and filled in for the prime minister at Prime Minister's Questions. By virtue of his responsibilities and as First Secretary of State, he was considered the de facto deputy prime minister.[7] Upon the appointment of David Lidington in 2018, Lidington retained the responsibilities Green had held, but the title of First Secretary of State remained vacant (as did the office of Deputy Prime Minister, vacant since 2015).

As a result, the office in its 2017–2019 absorbed the responsibilities of a de facto Deputy Prime Minister, without either of the associated titles usually granted to individuals in the British Government (First Secretary of State or Deputy Prime Minister). In 2019, new Prime Minister Boris Johnson ended this arrangement with the appointment of a new First Secretary of State, Dominic Raab, before upgrading his title again to Deputy Prime Minister in 2021.

Current minister and responsibilitiesEdit

Edward Argar has served as the Minister for the Cabinet Office since 6 September, 2022. He also serves as Paymaster General alongside his position.

The most recent responsibilities are:

  • Oversight of all Cabinet Office policy and appointments
  • Oversight of transition period activity and our future relations with the EU
  • Oversight of constitutional policy and enhancement, defending democracy and electoral law
  • Devolution issues and Strengthening the Union
  • Leading cross-government and public sector transformation and efficiency
  • Oversight of cross-government work on veterans’ issues
  • Oversight of Cabinet Office responsibilities on National Security and resilience, and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, including COVID-19
  • Supporting the coordination of the cross-government and the devolution aspects of the response to COVID-19

Ministers for the Cabinet OfficeEdit

Every occupant of the position has simultaneously held a sinecure office, this being Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from Clark to Byrne, Paymaster General from Jowell to Gummer, and First Secretary of State with Green. Oliver Dowden, and currently Edward Argar and his preceder Michael Ellis, held the office of Paymaster General, while David Lidington, Michael Gove and Steve Barclay held the role of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Name Portrait Term of office Concurrent office Party Prime minister
David Clark   2 May 1997 27 July 1998 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Labour Tony Blair
Jack Cunningham 27 July 1998 11 October 1999
Mo Mowlam 11 October 1999 7 June 2001
The Lord Macdonald of Tradeston   11 June 2001 13 June 2003
Douglas Alexander   13 June 2003 8 September 2004
Alan Milburn   8 September 2004 6 May 2005
John Hutton   6 May 2005 2 November 2005
Jim Murphy (acting)   5 November 2005 5 May 2006
Hilary Armstrong   5 May 2006 28 June 2007
Ed Miliband   28 June 2007 3 October 2008 Gordon Brown
Liam Byrne   3 October 2008 5 June 2009
Tessa Jowell   5 June 2009 11 May 2010 Paymaster General
Francis Maude   12 May 2010 11 May 2015 Conservative David Cameron
Matthew Hancock   11 May 2015 14 July 2016 David Cameron
Ben Gummer   14 July 2016 11 June 2017 Theresa May
Damian Green   11 June 2017 20 December 2017 First Secretary of State Theresa May
David Lidington   8 January 2018 24 July 2019 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Oliver Dowden   24 July 2019 13 February 2020 Paymaster General Boris Johnson
(I) & (II)
Michael Gove   13 February 2020 15 September 2021 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Boris Johnson (II)
Steve Barclay   15 September 2021 8 February 2022 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Downing Street Chief of Staff
Boris Johnson (II)
Michael Ellis 8 February 2022 6 September 2022 Paymaster General Boris Johnson (II)
Edward Argar 6 September 2022 Incumbent Paymaster General Liz Truss

Ministers of State at the Cabinet OfficeEdit

Normally, at least one Minister of State at the Cabinet Office is appointed who is junior to the minister for the Cabinet Office. There is currently one , Alok Sharma, president of COP 26.

Name Portrait Term of office Party Prime minister Title of position
Derek Foster 2 May 1997 6 May 1997 Labour Blair Minister of State for the Cabinet Office
Peter Kilfoyle 6 May 1997 28 July 1999
The Lord Falconer of Thoroton   28 July 1998 11 June 2001
The Baroness Morgan of Huyton   11 June 2001 November 2001
Ian McCartney   28 July 1999 11 June 2001
Barbara Roche 11 June 2001 29 May 2002
Douglas Alexander   29 May 2002 13 June 2003
David Miliband   16 December 2004 11 May 2005
Vacant 11 May 2005 4 September 2012
David Laws   4 September 2012 7 May 2015 Liberal Democrats Minister Assisting the Deputy Prime Minister
Vacant 8 May 2015 13 February 2020 Cameron
May (I)
May (II)
Johnson (I)
Johnson (II)
Chloe Smith   13 February 2020 16 September 2021 Conservatives Minister of State for the Constitution and Devolution
The Lord Agnew of Oulton   14 February 2020 24 January 2022 Minister of State for Efficiency and Transformation
The Lord True   14 February 2020 Incumbent
Alok Sharma
(as President for COP26)
  8 January 2021
The Lord Frost   1 March 2021 18 December 2021 Minister of State for EU Relations
Nigel Adams   15 September 2021 5 September 2022 Minister of State without Portfolio
Jacob Rees-Mogg   8 February 2022 Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency



  1. ^ "Minister for the Cabinet Office - GOV.UK".
  2. ^ "Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster - GOV.UK".
  3. ^ "Minister for the Cabinet Office - GOV.UK".
  4. ^ "What We Do". Cabinet Office. Government of the United Kingdom.
  5. ^ "Fourth Report: The Cabinet and the Centre of Government". Constitution Committee of the House of Lords. UK Parliament. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Minister for the Cabinet Office". Cabinet Office. Government of the United Kingdom.
  7. ^ Cheung, Aron (27 July 2017). "Cabinet committees show Damian Green is de facto Deputy PM". Institute for Government.

External linksEdit