Minister for the Union


The Minister for the Union is a position created by Boris Johnson during his first ministry,[1][2][3] to be held concurrently with his duties as Prime Minister.[4] Johnson proposed the position during the 2019 Conservative Party leadership campaign.[5] He is the first Prime Minister to adopt the title,[6] and the post was retained by Johnson in his second ministry.[7][8]

Minister for the Union
Incumbent
Boris Johnson

since 26 July 2019
SeatWestminster, London
AppointerMonarch
Term lengthAt Her Majesty's pleasure
Inaugural holderBoris Johnson
Formation26 July 2019

On 4 September 2019, the Government announced £10 million in funding to support the Prime Minister's work as Minister for the Union.[9]

Responsibilities


Since September 2020, the responsibilities of the position have been listed as follows at gov.uk: "As Minister for the Union, the Prime Minister works to ensure that all of government is acting on behalf of the entire United Kingdom: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales."[10] Before that point, the gov.uk website did not show any responsibilities associated with the position.[11][12][13]

List of ministers


Name Portrait Took office Party Ref
Boris Johnson 26 July 2019
(22 months ago)
 (2019-07-26)
Conservative [3][6]

Reception


A spokesperson for Johnson stated that the office was intended to emphasise his commitment to strengthening the bond between the countries of the United Kingdom.[3] In July 2019 the title was described as a "cynical rebranding" by Kirsty Blackman, deputy leader of the Scottish National Party in the House of Commons from 2017 to 2020, who advocates Scottish independence.[6] During the COVID-19 pandemic in July 2020 Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales and leader of Welsh Labour, drew attention to Johnson's lack of contact with the Welsh Government, saying "If you are minister for the union, speaking to the component parts of the union seems to me a sensible way of discharging those responsibilities."[14]

Related proposals


Robert Hazell has suggested merging the offices of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales into one Secretary of State for the Union,[15] in a department into which Rodney Brazier has suggested adding a Minister of State for England with responsibility for English local government.[16]

References


  1. "Full list of new ministerial and government appointments: July 2019". GOV.UK. 30 July 2019. Archived from the original on 4 August 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  2. Sparrow, Andrew (26 July 2019). "Boris Johnson tells Merkel EU must abandon backstop if it wants Brexit deal - live news". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 July 2019. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  3. "Boris Johnson 'absolutely' rules out pre-Brexit election". BBC News. 26 July 2019. Archived from the original on 27 July 2019. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  4. Minister for the Union is distinct from the office of PM; it is listed separately from Prime Minister and its ex officio titles of First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. See: "Full list of new ministerial and government appointments: July 2019". Archived from the original on 4 August 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019. "Ministerial appointments: February 2020". Archived from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020. @e_casalicchio (13 February 2020). "Confirmed facts amid #reshuffle chaos: 🚩Full Cabinet list below from Number 10" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  5. Yeomans, Emma (1 July 2019). "Boris Johnson wants extra role as 'minister for the Union'". The Times. Archived from the original on 12 July 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  6. Woodcock, Andrew (26 July 2019). "Boris Johnson accused of 'cynical rebranding' after appointing himself 'Minister for the Union'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 27 July 2019. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  7. "Ministerial appointments: February 2020". GOV.UK. 13 February 2020. Archived from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  8. @e_casalicchio (13 February 2020). "Confirmed facts amid #reshuffle chaos: 🚩Full Cabinet list below from Number 10" (Tweet). Retrieved 20 February 2020 via Twitter.
  9. "Spending Round 2019: Departmental Settlements". gov.uk. 4 September 2019. Archived from the original on 5 September 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  10. "Ministerial role: Minister for the Union". GOV.UK.
  11. "Ministerial role: Minister for the Union". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 19 July 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  12. English, Otto (24 July 2020). "Hell of a Year: Britain Under Johnson's Rule". Byline Times. Archived from the original on 26 July 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  13. Webster, Laura (25 August 2020). "Boris Johnson has no responsibilities as Minister for the Union, UK Gov says". The National. Archived from the original on 7 September 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  14. Morris, Steven (6 July 2020). "Wales further eases lockdown as first minister criticises Boris Johnson". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  15. [email protected], WRITE TO. "Times letters: Mark Sedwill's call for a cull of the cabinet". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  16. UKCLA (7 September 2020). "Rodney Brazier: Why is Her Majesty's Government so big?". UK Constitutional Law Association. Retrieved 30 November 2020.