Minister for the Union

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Minister for the Union
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Liz Truss official portrait (cropped)2.jpg
Incumbent
Liz Truss

since 6 September 2022
SeatWestminster, London
AppointerMonarch
Term lengthAt His Majesty's pleasure
Inaugural holderBoris Johnson
Formation26 July 2019

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

On 4 September 2019, the Government announced £10 million in funding to support the Prime Minister's work as Minister for the Union.[8]

Responsibilities[edit]

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."[9] Before that point, the gov.uk website did not show any responsibilities associated with the position.[9][10][11]

List of ministers[edit]

# Portrait Name Took office Left office Term length Party Cabinet Ref
1 Boris Johnson official portrait (cropped).jpg Boris Johnson 26 July 2019 (2019-07-26) 6 September 2022 (2022-09-06) 3 years and 43 days Conservative Johnson I [3][7]
Johnson II
2 Liz Truss official portrait (cropped)2.jpg Liz Truss 6 September 2022 (2022-09-06) Incumbent 19 days Conservative Truss [12]

Reception[edit]

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.[7] 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."[13]

Related proposals[edit]

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,[14] in a department into which Rodney Brazier has suggested adding a Minister of State for England with responsibility for English local government.[15]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 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.[1][4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "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. ^ a b c "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. ^ a b "Ministerial appointments: February 2020". gov.uk. 13 February 2020. Archived from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b @e_casalicchio (13 February 2020). "Confirmed facts amid #reshuffle chaos: 🚩Full Cabinet list below from Number 10" (Tweet). Retrieved 20 February 2020 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b c 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.
  8. ^ "Spending Round 2019: Departmental Settlements". gov.uk. 4 September 2019. Archived from the original on 5 September 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Ministerial role: Minister for the Union". gov.uk. Archived from the original on 19 July 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "New PM hopeful pledges: Truss - 'I'll be your minister for the Union'. Sunak - 'I'll make Britain energy secure'".
  13. ^ Morris, Steven (6 July 2020). "Wales further eases lockdown as first minister criticises Boris Johnson". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Times letters: Mark Sedwill's call for a cull of the cabinet". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  15. ^ UKCLA (7 September 2020). "Rodney Brazier: Why is Her Majesty's Government so big?". UK Constitutional Law Association. Retrieved 30 November 2020.