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 all Cabinet Office policies and leading the department.

Minister for the Cabinet Office
Michael Gove

since 13 February 2020 (2020-02-13)
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

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.

Function and status

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

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".[3]

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.[4] 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.

Current minister and responsibilities

The current minister is Michael Gove, who was appointed for the Johnson ministry in February 2020. He simultaneously holds the sinecure office of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. 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.
  • 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 Office

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 held the office of Paymaster General, while David Lidington and, presently, Michael Gove have 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 Incumbent Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Boris Johnson (II)

Ministers of State for the Cabinet Office

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 Party Prime Minister
Derek Foster 2 May 1997 6 May 1997 Labour Blair
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
Vacant 8 May 2015 13 February 2020 Cameron
May (I)
May (II)
Johnson (I)
Johnson (II)
Chloe Smith 13 February 2020 Incumbent Conservatives
The Lord Agnew of Oulton 14 February 2020
The Lord True 14 February 2020
Alok Sharma
(also President for COP26)
8 January 2021
The Lord Frost 1 March 2021

Opposition spokespersons for the Cabinet Office

Shadow Ministers for the Cabinet Office

Name Portrait Term of office Title Party Leader
Andrew Lansley 15 June 1999 18 September 2001 Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Conservative Hague
Tim Collins 18 September 2001 23 July 2002 Duncan Smith
Francis Maude 2 July 2007 11 May 2010 Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Conservative Cameron
Tessa Jowell 11 May 2010 8 October 2010 Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Labour Harman
Liam Byrne 8 October 2010 20 January 2011 Miliband
Tessa Jowell 20 January 2011 7 October 2011
Jon Trickett 7 October 2011 7 October 2013
Michael Dugher 7 October 2013 5 November 2014
Lucy Powell 5 November 2014 14 September 2015
Tom Watson 14 September 2015 7 October 2016 Corbyn
Ian Lavery 7 October 2016 9 February 2017
Jon Trickett 9 February 2017 5 April 2020 Shadow Lord President of the Council
Rachel Reeves 5 April 2020 9 May 2021 Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Starmer
Angela Rayner 9 May 2021 Incumbent

Deputies for the shadow minister

Scottish National Party Spokesperson

Name Portrait Term of office Parliamentary Leader
Tommy Sheppard May 2015 Incumbent Robertson

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson

Name Portrait Term of office Leader
Alan Beith Pre-April 2003 Post-April 2003 Kennedy
Richard Allan Pre-August 2003 Post-April 2004
David Heath April 2006 January 2006 Campbell
Norman Baker Pre-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
Vacant July 2015 October 2018 Farron
Vince Cable 21 October 2019 6 November 2019 Swinson


  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. UK Parliament. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  3. "Minister for the Cabinet Office". Cabinet Office. Government of the United Kingdom.
  4. Cheung, Aron (27 July 2017). "Cabinet committees show Damian Green is de facto Deputy PM". Institute for Government.