Ministerial bag carrier or valuable eyes and ears?

By Chris Whitehouse July 23, 2014 12:54 pm

“Gove demoted”, “Morgan promoted” and “Hammond moved” were some of the headlines of the Ministerial reshuffle that grabbed the attention of at least the Westminster village last week. Now, however, the Prime Minister has published the list of Parliamentary Private Secretaries – a position, often seen as the first rung on the Ministerial ladder.

Parliamentary Private Secretaries – PPSs as they are known – are often denigrated as no more than being there to carrier their Minister’s bags, but there is much more to the position than that. They are a Minister’s eyes and ears to ensure that communications with party backbench MPs are kept open and effective. They are a weather vane against which policy ideas can be given a reality check. They are a source of advice and support to Ministers who may otherwise be too busy to think through all the implications of a possible new project. And they are, indeed, a training ground for the Ministers of the near future.

If you want to learn more about the work of a PPS, there is a useful background paper here.

The full list of Conservative MPs who serve as Ministers’ PPSs now announced by the Prime Minister is as follows:

* The Prime Minister: GAVIN WILLIAMSON

* First Secretary of State and Leader of the Commons – William Hague – MARGOT JAMES

* Chancellor of the Exchequer – George Osborne – ROBERT HALFON

* Financial Secretary to the Treasury – David Gauke – GARETH JOHNSON

* Home Secretary – Theresa May – GEORGE HOLLINGBERY

* Home Office: Minister of State – James Brokenshire – GUY OPPERMAN

* Home Office/MOJ: Minister of State – Mike Penning – STEVE BRINE

* Foreign Secretary – Philip Hammond – DAMIAN COLLINS

* FCO/DCLG: Minister of State – Baroness Warsi – ERIC OLLERENSHAW

* FCO: Minister of State – David Lidington – DAVID RUTLEY

* FCO: Minister of State – Hugo Swire – ALEC SHELBROOKE

* FCO/BIS: Minister of State – Lord Livingston – STEPHEN McPARTLAND

* Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice – Chris Grayling – STEPHEN METCALFE

* Secretary of State for Defence – Michael Fallon – GRAHAM EVANS

* MOD: Minister of State – Mark Francois – ANDREW BINGHAM

* MOD: Minister of State – Anna Soubry – MARK PAWSEY

* BIS/CO: Minister of State (attending Cabinet) – Greg Clark – DAVID MOWAT

* BIS/DECC: Minister of State (attending Cabinet) – Matthew Hancock – NICOLA BLACKWOOD

* BIS/DfE: Minister of State – Nick Boles – MIKE FREER

* BIS/DCMS: Minister of State – Ed Vaizey – JUSTIN TOMLINSON

* Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – Iain Duncan Smith – CHARLIE ELPHICKE

* DWP: Minister of State (attending Cabinet) – Esther McVey – JAMES MORRIS

* DWP: Minister of State – Mark Harper – CAROLINE NOKES

* Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal – Baroness Stowell – MARK SPENCER

* Secretary of State for Health – Jeremy Hunt – ANDREW JONES & SIMON KIRBY

* Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Eric Pickles – JOHN GLEN

* DCLG: Minister of State – Brandon Lewis – JULIAN STURDY

* Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women & Equalities – Nicky Morgan – CAROLINE DINENAGE & BEN GUMMER

* DfE: Minister of State – Nick Gibb – REHMAN CHISHTI

* Secretary of State for International Development – Justine Greening – JULIAN SMITH

* DfID: Minister of State – Desmond Swayne – JACK LOPRESTI

* Secretary of State for Transport – Patrick McLoughlin – IAIN STEWART

* DfT: Minister of State (and Senior Parliamentary Adviser to the Prime Minister) – John Hayes – NEIL PARISH

* Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – Theresa Villiers – MARY MACLEOD

* Secretary of State for Wales – Stephen Crabb – DAVID MORRIS

* Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – Sajid Javid – MARCUS JONES

* Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Liz Truss – ROBIN WALKER

* Cabinet Office: Paymaster General – Francis Maude – STUART ANDREW

* Cabinet Office: Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – Oliver Letwin – PAUL MAYNARD

* Attorney General – Jeremy Wright – HEATHER WHEELER

* Party Chairman – Grant Shapps – JAKE BERRY

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