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The Minister for the Cabinet Office is a position in the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom. The office has no statutory footing or recognition, and is unpaid. Every individual who has held the office has therefore also been appointed to a sinecure office to secure a seat at cabinet and a salary.

Minister for the Cabinet Office
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Official portrait of Oliver Dowden crop 2.jpg
Oliver Dowden

since 24 July 2019 (2019-07-24)
Cabinet Office
StyleThe Right Honourable
Member ofCabinet
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

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.[1] 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):[2]

  • 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
  • Deputising for the Prime Minister at Prime Minister's Questions[3]

The government presently 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".[4]

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 a de facto Deputy Prime Minister.[5] 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.

Current minister and responsibilitiesEdit

The current minister is Oliver Dowden, who was appointed for the Johnson ministry in July 2019. He simultaneously holds the sinecure office of Paymaster General. The role has had varying responsibilities over time.

The most recent responsibilities are:

  • Supporting the Prime Minister in the running of the Government of the United Kingdom.
  • Deputising for the Prime Minister.
  • Advising the Prime Minister on developing and implementing Government policy.
  • Driving forward government business and implementation including through chairing and deputy chairing cabinet committees and taskforces.
  • Overseeing constitutional affairs and maintaining the integrity of the Union.
  • Oversight of all Cabinet Office policies.

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. David Lidington held the role of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, whereas Oliver Dowden holds the office of Paymaster General.

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
David Clark   2 May 1997 27 July 1998 Labour Tony Blair
Jack Cunningham   27 July 1998 11 October 1999 Labour
Mo Mowlam 11 October 1999 7 June 2001 Labour
The Lord Macdonald of Tradeston   11 June 2001 13 June 2003 Labour
Douglas Alexander   13 June 2003 8 September 2004 Labour
Alan Milburn   8 September 2004 6 May 2005 Labour
John Hutton   6 May 2005 2 November 2005 Labour
Jim Murphy (acting)   5 November 2005 5 May 2006 Labour
Hilary Armstrong   5 May 2006 27 June 2007 Labour
Ed Miliband   27 June 2007 3 October 2008 Labour Gordon Brown
Liam Byrne   3 October 2008 5 June 2009 Labour
Tessa Jowell   5 June 2009 11 May 2010 Labour
Francis Maude   12 May 2010 11 May 2015 Conservative David Cameron
Matthew Hancock   11 May 2015 14 July 2016 Conservative David Cameron
Ben Gummer   14 July 2016 11 June 2017 Conservative Theresa May
Damian Green   11 June 2017 20 December 2017 Conservative Theresa May
David Lidington   8 January 2018 24 July 2019 Conservative
Oliver Dowden   24 July 2019 Incumbent Conservative Boris Johnson

Ministers of State for the Cabinet OfficeEdit

Occasionally, a Minister of State for the Cabinet Office is appointed who is junior to the Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Derek Foster 2 May 1997 6 May 1997 Labour Blair
Peter Kilfoyle 6 May 1997 28 July 1999 Labour
Ian McCartney   28 July 1999 11 June 2001 Labour
Barbara Roche 11 June 2001 29 May 2002 Labour
Douglas Alexander   29 May 2002 13 June 2003 Labour
David Miliband   16 December 2004 11 May 2005 Labour
David Laws   4 September 2012 7 May 2015 Liberal Democrats Cameron
Vacant 8 May 2015-present Cameron
May (I)
May (II)

Opposition spokespersons for the Cabinet OfficeEdit

Shadow Ministers for the Cabinet OfficeEdit

Name Portrait Term of office Party Shadow Cabinet
Andrew Lansley   15 June 1999 18 September 2001 Conservative Hague
Tim Collins   18 September 2001 23 July 2002 Conservative Duncan Smith
Francis Maude   2 July 2007 11 May 2010 Conservative Cameron
Tessa Jowell   11 May 2010 8 October 2010 Labour Harman
Liam Byrne   8 October 2010 20 January 2011 Labour Miliband
Tessa Jowell   20 January 2011 7 October 2011 Labour
Jon Trickett   7 October 2011 7 October 2013 Labour
Michael Dugher   7 October 2013 5 November 2014 Labour
Lucy Powell   5 November 2014 14 September 2015 Labour
Tom Watson   14 September 2015 7 October 2016 Labour Corbyn
Ian Lavery   7 October 2016 February 2017 Labour
Jon Trickett   February 2017 10 July 2018 Labour
Jo Platt   10 July 2018 Incumbent Labour

Scottish National PartyEdit

Name Portrait Term of office Frontbench team
Tommy Sheppard   May 2015 – present Robertson

Liberal DemocratsEdit

Name Portrait Term of office Shadow Cabinet
Alan Beith   bef. April 2003 aft. April 2003 Kennedy
Richard Allan bef. August 2003 aft. April 2004
David Heath   April 2006 January 2006 Campbell
Norman Baker   bef. July 2007 December 2007
Susan Kramer   December 2007 May 2010 Clegg
May 2010 – May 2015, the Liberal Democrats were in a coalition government, so did not have opposition spokespersons
no appointment announced July 2015 present Farron


  1. ^ "What We Do". Cabinet Office. Government of the United Kingdom.
  2. ^ "Fourth Report: The Cabinet and the Centre of Government". Constitution Committee of the House of Lords. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Tory chairman Brandon Lewis defends reshuffle". BBC News. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Minister for the Cabinet Office". Cabinet Office. Government of the United Kingdom.
  5. ^ Cheung, Aron. "Cabinet committees show Damian Green is de facto Deputy PM". Institute for Government. Institute for Government.

External linksEdit