United Kingdom
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Arms of the Duchy of Lancaster
Flag of the Duchy of Lancaster
Oliver Dowden
since 25 October 2022 (2022-10-25)
StyleThe Right Honourable
(within the UK and Commonwealth)
Member of
Reports to
NominatorPrime Minister of the United Kingdom
AppointerThe Monarch
(on the advice of the Prime Minister)
Term lengthAt His Majesty's pleasure
Inaugural holderSir Henry de Haydock
Salary£159,038 per annum (2022)[1]
(including £86,584 MP salary)[2]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is a ministerial office[3] in the Government of the United Kingdom. Excluding the prime minister, the chancellor is the highest ranking minister in the Cabinet Office, immediately after the Prime Minister, and senior to the Minister for the Cabinet Office.[4] The role includes as part of its duties the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster.[5]

Formally, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the prime minister,[6][7] and is answerable to Parliament for the governance of the Duchy.[8] In modern times, however, the involvement of the chancellor in the running of the day-to-day affairs of the Duchy is slight, and the office is held by a senior politician whose main role is usually quite different. In practical terms, it is a sinecure, allowing the prime minister to appoint an additional minister without portfolio to the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. In September 2021 the role was endowed with responsibility for advising the prime minister on policy development and implementation, particularly around Brexit.[9]

The corresponding shadow minister is the shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (August 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Originally, the chancellor was the chief officer in the daily management of the Duchy of Lancaster and the County Palatine of Lancaster (a county palatine merged into the Crown in 1399), but that estate is now run by a deputy, leaving the chancellor as a member of the Cabinet with little obligation in regard to the chancellorship. The position has often been given to a senior Cabinet minister with responsibilities in a particular area of policy for which there is no department with an appropriate portfolio.

In 1491 the office of Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster was created. The position is now held by a judge of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice, who sits in the north west of England, and is no longer appointed to that position as legal officer of the Duchy.

Modern times

Under the Promissory Oaths Act 1868, the chancellor is required to take the oath of allegiance and the Official Oath.[10] The holder of the sinecure is a minister without portfolio; Sir Oswald Mosley, for example, focused on unemployment after being appointed to the position in 1929 during the second MacDonald ministry.[11]

After the Dardanelles campaign, Winston Churchill was in 1915 appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a humiliating loss of the trappings of power.[12]

The chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is entitled to a salary under the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975, but section 3 of the Act provides that the salary "shall be reduced by the amount of the salary payable to him otherwise than out of moneys so provided in respect of his office".[13] The Office of the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is part of the Cabinet Office.[14]

From 1997 until 2009, the holder of the title also served as the Minister for the Cabinet Office. This applied in the case of Alan Milburn, who was given the title by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2004 and at the same time rejoined the Cabinet. However, in the reshuffle of 5 June 2009, the chancellorship went to the Leader of the House of Lords, the Baroness Royall. In David Cameron's first cabinet, the chancellorship remained with the leader of the House of Lords until 2014.

When David Lidington was appointed Chancellor on 8 January 2018, the position of Minister for the Cabinet Office was once again held concurrently. This continued until Michael Gove was appointed Chancellor in July 2019. Michael Gove was given responsibility over the Cabinet Office, but did not initially hold the ministerial position of Minister for the Cabinet Office (which is not on a statutory footing), though he was later granted that title in the 2020 Cabinet reshuffle.

Steve Barclay was appointed to the post on 15 September 2021 as part of the 2021 reshuffle. He had previously been the last Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the European Union. Steve Barclay held the office concurrently with the Minister for the Cabinet Office until February 2022 when he was appointed Downing Street Chief of Staff. The position of Minister for the Cabinet Office was given to Michael Ellis instead whilst Barclay retained the post of Chancellor of the Duchy.

Kit Malthouse succeeded Steve Barclay as Chancellor in the 2022 reshuffle on 7 July 2022.

Nadhim Zahawi was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 6 September 2022, under the UK's shortest-serving Prime Minister, Liz Truss.

Oliver Dowden was appointed to the role, in new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's first cabinet, on 25 October 2022.


In addition to administering the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster, the chancellor is also a member of the cabinet and advises the prime minister on the development and implementation of government policy.[15] In addition, the Chancellor is presently responsible for:

Chancellors of the Duchy of Lancaster

Main article: List of chancellors of the Duchy of Lancaster

See also


This article contains quotations from this source, which is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. © Crown copyright.

  1. ^ "Salaries of Members of His Majesty's Government – Financial Year 2022–23" (PDF). 15 December 2022.
  2. ^ "Pay and expenses for MPs". parliament.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  3. ^ House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 c. 24, Schedule 2
  4. ^ "Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster - GOV.UK".
  5. ^ Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – Glossary page – UK Parliament Archived 6 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Parliament.uk (21 April 2010). Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  6. ^ FAQs, duchyoflancaster.co.uk. Archived 2009-09-01 on the Internet Archive.
  7. ^ The Government, Prime Minister and Cabinet: Directgov – Government, citizens and rights Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Direct.gov.uk. Retrieved on 30 September 2011.
  8. ^ Vernon Bogdanor (9 November 1995). The Monarchy and the Constitution. Clarendon Press. p. 188. ISBN 9780198277699.. (Citing House of Commons Debates 17 November 1987 col 11, Standing Committee G.)
  9. ^ "Prime Minister Boris Johnson: Who's in his cabinet?". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  10. ^ Promissory Oaths Act 1868 section 5 and Schedule
  11. ^ Gunther, John (1940). Inside Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 363–364.
  12. ^ "Summer 1915 (Age 40)". International Churchill Society. 10 February 2015.
  13. ^ Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 sections 1 & 3 and Schedule 1
  14. ^ Appropriation Act 2010 Schedule 2 Part 2
  15. ^ a b "Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  16. ^ "UK Biological Security Strategy". GOV.UK. Retrieved 28 August 2023.