Parliamentary Private Secretary
to the Prime Minister
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Royal Arms as used by Her Majesty's Government
Incumbent
Joy Morrissey, Lia Nici, James Duddridge and Sarah Dines

since 17 September 2021
Prime Minister's Office
AppointerPrime Minister
Formation1906
First holderHubert Carr-Gomm
Website10 Downing Street

The Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister is a Parliamentary Private Secretary serving the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The holder of the office is widely viewed as the Prime Minister's "eyes and ears" on the backbenches, serving as a liaison to the Prime Minister's parliamentary party.[1][2] The Parliamentary Private Secretary is also responsible for meeting with members of Parliament when the Prime Minister is unavailable, and accompanying the Prime Minister to, and assisting them with preparations for Prime Minister's Questions.[2][3] They usually sit directly behind the Prime Minister during question time.

Role

The Parliamentary Private Secretary can become a highly powerful and significant role; Bonar Law's Parliamentary Private Secretary, J.C.C. Davidson acted in effect as his chief of staff.[3] Margaret Thatcher's downfall from the Conservative Party leadership in 1990 is attributed by many[4][5][6] to the actions of her Parliamentary Private Secretary, Peter Morrison, in failing to accurately count votes amongst Conservative backbenchers. Some Parliamentary Private Secretaries to the Prime Minister go on to hold higher office; Alec Douglas-Home served as Parliamentary Private Secretary under Neville Chamberlain and later went on to serve as Prime Minister in his own right.[7]

There can be multiple Parliamentary Private Secretaries to the Prime Minister at a given time. Many Prime Ministers have used this tactic during their premierships; former Prime Minister, David Cameron, only employed one Parliamentary Private Secretary at a time during his tenure in office, but he appointed Sir John Hayes as a minister without portfolio with responsibility for the Parliamentary Conservative Party, a job typically reserved for the Parliamentary Private Secretary.[8][9]

The current Parliamentary Private Secretaries to Prime Minister Boris Johnson are Sarah Dines and Andrew Griffith.[10]

Parliamentary Private Secretaries to the Prime Minister (1906–present)

The following table lists Parliamentary Private Secretaries to successive Prime Ministers from 1906.[11]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Hubert Carr-Gomm
1919 Hubert Carr-Gomm.jpg
1906 1908 Liberal Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Geoffrey Howard
Geoffrey Howard 1906 transparent.png
1908 1909 Liberal H. H. Asquith
(I)
Charles Henry Lyell
Charles Henry Lyell in military uniform.jpg
1908 1915 Liberal
H. H. Asquith
(Coalition)
Sir John Barran, 2nd Baronet
John Barran.jpg
1916 1918 Liberal David Lloyd George
(Coalition)
David Davies
David Davies MP.jpg
1916 1918 Liberal
William Sutherland
1920 William Sutherland.jpg
1916[dubious ] 1918 Liberal
Waldorf Astor
Viscount Astor.jpg
1918 Conservative
William Sutherland
1920 William Sutherland.jpg
1919 1920 Liberal
Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt
Sir Philip Sassoon.jpg
1920 1922 Conservative
J.C.C. Davidson
Viscount Davidson.jpg
1922 1923 Conservative Bonar Law
Sidney Herbert 1923 1924 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
Lauchlin MacNeill Weir 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Sidney Herbert 1924 1927 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
Charles Rhys 1927 1929 Conservative
Lauchlin MacNeill Weir 1929 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
(II)
Robert Morrison
Lord Morrisson.jpg
1929 1931 Labour
Frank Markham
Frank Marcam.jpg
1931 1932 National Labour Ramsay MacDonald
(First National ministry · Second National ministry)
Ralph Glyn 1931 1935 Conservative
John Vigers Worthington 1931 1935 National Labour
Geoffrey Lloyd 1935 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
Thomas Dugdale
Thomas Dugdale, 1st Baron Crathorne.jpg
1935 1937 Conservative
Lord Dunglass
Lord Alec Douglas-Home Allan Warren.jpg
1937 1940 Conservative Neville Chamberlain
Brendan Bracken
Brendan Bracken 1947.jpg
1940 1941 Conservative Winston Churchill
George Harvie-Watt 1941 1945 Conservative
Geoffrey de Freitas
Geoffrey de Freitas (1966).jpg
1945 1946 Labour Clement Attlee
Arthur Moyle 1946 1951 Labour
Christopher Soames
Christopher Soames (cropped).jpg
1952 1955 Conservative Winston Churchill
Robert Carr
Robert Carr2.jpg
April 1955 December 1955 Conservative Anthony Eden
Robert Allan 1955 1956 Conservative
Anthony Barber 1957 1959 Conservative Harold Macmillan
Knox Cunningham 1959 1963 Ulster Unionist
Francis Pearson November 1963 October 1964 Conservative Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Ernest Fernyhough 1964 1967 Labour Harold Wilson
Peter Shore 1965 1966 Labour
Harold Davies January 1967 June 1970 Labour
Eric Varley November 1968 October 1969 Labour
Timothy Kitson 1970 1974 Conservative Edward Heath
Bill Hamling 1974 1975 Labour Harold Wilson
Kenneth Marks April 1975 December 1975 Labour
John Tomlinson 1975 1976 Labour Co-op
Jack Cunningham 1976 1977 Labour James Callaghan
Roger Stott 1977 1979 Labour
Ian Gow 1979 1983 Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Michael Alison 1983 1987 Conservative
Archie Hamilton
Official portrait of Lord Hamilton of Epsom crop 2.jpg
1987 1988 Conservative
Mark Lennox-Boyd 1988 1990 Conservative
Peter Morrison 1990 1990 Conservative
Graham Bright
Sir Graham Bright ISA Congress 2011.jpg
1990 1994 Conservative John Major
John Devereux Ward 1994 2 May 1997 Conservative
Ann Coffey
Ann Coffey Official Portrait.jpg
2 May 1997 1998 Labour Tony Blair
Bruce Grocott
Lord Grocott Official Portrait.jpg
2 May 1997 8 June 2001 Labour
David Hanson
Official portrait of David Hanson crop 2.jpg
8 June 2001 6 May 2005 Labour
Keith Hill
Keith Hill MP (cropped).jpg
6 May 2005 27 June 2007 Labour
Ian Austin
Ian Austin Official Portrait.jpg
27 June 2007 4 October 2008 Labour Gordon Brown
Angela Smith
Official portrait of Baroness Smith of Basildon crop 2.jpg
27 June 2007 28 June 2009 Labour
Jon Trickett
Official portrait of Jon Trickett crop 2.jpg
4 October 2008 12 May 2010 Labour
Anne Snelgrove
Anne snelgrove 2012.jpg
8 June 2009 12 May 2010 Labour
Desmond Swayne
Official portrait of Sir Desmond Swayne crop 2.jpg
12 May 2010 4 September 2012 Conservative David Cameron
(Coalition)
Sam Gyimah
Official portrait of Mr Sam Gyimah crop 2.jpg
4 September 2012 7 October 2013 Conservative
Gavin Williamson
Official portrait of Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP crop 2.jpg
7 October 2013 13 July 2016 Conservative
David Cameron
(II)
George Hollingbery
Official portrait of George Hollingbery crop 2.jpg
17 July 2016 21 June 2018 Conservative Theresa May
Seema Kennedy
Seema Kennedy MP.jpg
27 June 2017 4 April 2019 Conservative
Andrew Bowie
Official portrait of Andrew Bowie MP crop 2.jpg
29 December 2018 24 July 2019 Conservative
Alex Burghart
Official portrait of Alex Burghart crop 2.jpg
25 July 2019 17 September 2021 Conservative Boris Johnson
James Heappey
Official portrait of James Heappey MP crop 2.jpg
4 August 2019 16 December 2019 Conservative
Trudy Harrison
Official portrait of Trudy Harrison MP crop 2.jpg
16 December 2019 17 September 2021 Conservative
Andrew Griffith
Official portrait of Andrew Griffith MP crop 2.jpg
17 September 2021 3 February 2022 Conservative
Sarah Dines
Official portrait of Miss Sarah Dines MP crop 2.jpg
17 September 2021 Incumbent Conservative
Joy Morrissey[12]
Official portrait of Joy Morrissey MP crop 2.jpg
8 February 2022 Incumbent Conservative
Lia Nici[13]
Official portrait of Lia Nici MP crop 2.jpg
8 February 2022 Incumbent Conservative
James Duddridge[14]
Official portrait of James Duddridge MP crop 2.jpg
8 February 2022 Incumbent Conservative

In popular culture

The final instalment of Michael Dobbs's and the BBC's House of Cards trilogy, The Final Cut, includes a character, Claire Carlsen, who serves as Prime Minister Francis Urquhart's Parliamentary Private Secretary, ultimately betraying him by attempting to leak documents about his service in the British Army.

See also

References

  1. ^ Shell, Donald (1995). Churchill to Major: The British Prime Ministership Since 1945. Book. C. Hurst & Co. ISBN 9781563246357. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b Barnett, Hilare (2002). Constitutional & Administrative Law. Cavendish Publishing Ltd. p. 322. ISBN 9781843144755.
  3. ^ a b Kavanagh, Dennis (2013). The Powers Behind the Prime Minister: The Hidden Influence of Number Ten. HarperCollins UK. ISBN 9780007392636.
  4. ^ Cosgrave, Patrick (15 July 1995). "Obituary: Sir Peter Morrison". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  5. ^ Hoggart, Simon (16 October 2013). "Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality by Jonathan Aitken – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  6. ^ Clark, Alan (1993). Diary. 354: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location (link)
  7. ^ "PIL: Parliamentary Private Secretaries to Prime Ministers 1906 – present – Commons Library Standard Note". Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  8. ^ Kirkup, James (28 March 2013). "John Hayes goes to No 10. Is David Cameron admitting to fear of his own party?". London: The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  9. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (28 March 2013). "Cameron moves John Hayes in mini reshuffle: Politics live blog". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Ministerial appointments: September 2021". 16 September 2021.
  11. ^ Priddy, Sarah (20 March 2021). "Parliamentary Private Secretaries to Prime Ministers since 1906". Research Briefings. House of Commons Library.
  12. ^ "Joy Morrissey 'honoured' to be appointed Boris Johnson's Parliamentary Private Secretary". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  13. ^ "Lia Nici appointed Boris' PPS after hailing him 'best' in generations". GrimsbyLive. 8 February 2022. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  14. ^ "James appointed PPS to the Prime Minister". James Duddridge. Retrieved 10 February 2022.