|Political offices in the UK government|
A Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) is a Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom who acts as an unpaid assistant to a minister or to the Leader of the Opposition. They are selected from backbench MPs as the 'eyes and ears' of the minister in the House of Commons.
PPSs are junior to Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State, a ministerial post salaried by one or more departments.
Although not paid other than their salary as an MP,PPSs help the government to track backbench opinion in Parliament. They are subject to some restrictions as outlined in the Ministerial Code of the British government but are not members of the Government.
A PPS can sit on select committees but must avoid "associating themselves with recommendations critical of, or embarrassing to the Government", and must not make statements or ask questions on matters affecting the minister's department.In particular, the PPS in the Department for Communities and Local Government may not participate in planning decisions or in the consideration of planning cases.
PPSs are not members of the government, and all efforts are made to avoid these positions being referred to as such. They are instead considered more simply as normal Members. However, their close confidence with ministers does impose obligations on every PPS. The guidelines surrounding the divulging of classified information by ministers to PPSs are rigid.
Ministers choose their own PPSs, but they are expected to consult the Chief Whip and must seek the written approval for each candidate from the Prime Minister.
Although not on the government payroll, PPSs are expected to act as part of the payroll vote, voting in line with the government on every division.
When on official Departmental business, a PPS receives travel and subsistence allowance paid out of government funds, as with formal members of the government. This makes the PPS the only type of unpaid advisor who receives reimbursement in the course of duty.
Overseas travel for PPSs must be approved by the Prime Minister and is granted only in exceptional cases.
The role of PPS is seen as a starting point for many MPs who aspire to become ministers themselves.According to Philip W. Buck, a professor of political science at Stanford University:
Nine-tenths of the M.P.s who first won seats in the House of Commons in 1918 or thereafter, and who held some ministerial office in the years from 1918 to 1955, began their progress towards posts in a ministry or a Cabinet by serving as parliamentary secretaries or as junior ministers... Recruitment to the front bench clearly begins with these two offices.
After the leaking of party details in emails associated with Desmond Swayne, PPS to David Cameron, a writer of the Thirsk and Malton Labour Party Constituency Blog commented:
A Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) is a thankless job. Despite having risen to the rank of MP, those with Governmental ambitions will need to pay their dues once more – as a bag carrier. Admittedly, PPS is a bit more than that – you are supposed to be the eyes and ears, reporting back to your boss all the gossip, what people are saying about your work in the bars and cafes of Westminster.
The following is a list of Parliamentary Private Secretaries in the UK, as at October 2020.The most notable are the:
The Leader of the Opposition usually appoints one Parliamentary Private Secretary as well.
|Post or ministerial team||Parliamentary Private Secretary|
|Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Minister for the Union||Rt Hon. Boris Johnson MP||Alex Burghart MP|
|Trudy Harrison MP|
|Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office||Rt Hon. Michael Gove MP||Kevin Hollinrake MP|
|Cabinet Office ministerial team||Jane Hunt MP|
|Chancellor of the Exchequer||Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP||James Cartlidge MP|
|HM Treasury ministerial team||Claire Coutinho MP|
|Chief Secretary to the Treasury||Rt Hon. Steve Barclay MP||Craig Williams MP|
|Secretary of State for the Home Department||Rt Hon. Priti Patel MP||Mike Wood MP|
|Home Office ministerial team||Andrew Lewer MP|
|Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and First Secretary of State||Rt Hon. Dominic Raab MP||Gareth Johnson MP|
|Foreign and Commonwealth Office ministerial team||Joy Morrisey MP|
|Secretary of State for Defence||Rt Hon. Ben Wallace MP||Jack Brereton MP|
|Ministry of Defence ministerial team||Natalie Elphicke MP|
|Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice||Rt Hon. Robert Buckland QC MP||Chris Clarkson MP|
|Ministry of Justice ministerial team||Julie Marson MP|
|Secretary of State for Health and Social Care||Rt Hon. Sajid Javid MP||Steve Double MP|
|Department of Health and Social Care ministerial team||Virginia Crosbie MP|
|Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy||Rt Hon. Alok Sharma MP||Ben Bradley MP|
|Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy ministerial team||Jo Gideon MP|
|Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government||Rt Hon. Robert Jenrick MP||Andrea Jenkyns MP|
|Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government ministerial team||Jacob Young MP|
|Ending rough sleeping, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government||Adam Holloway MP|
|Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport||Rt Hon. Oliver Dowden MP||John Lamont MP|
|Secretary of State for International Trade, President of the Board of Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities||Rt Hon. Liz Truss MP||David Duguid MP|
|Secretary of State for Education||Rt Hon. Gavin Williamson MP||Scott Mann MP|
|Department for Education ministerial team||Angela Richardson MP|
|Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs||Rt Hon. George Eustice MP||Caroline Ansell MP|
|Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ministerial team||Fay Jones MP|
|Secretary of State for Transport||Rt Hon. Grant Shapps MP||Robert Courts MP|
|Department for Transport ministerial team||Laura Trott MP|
|Secretary of State for International Development||Rt Hon. Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP||Flick Drummond MP|
|Secretary of State for Work and Pensions||Rt Hon. Thérèse Coffey MP||Bim Afolami MP|
|Secretary of State for Scotland||Rt Hon. Alister Jack MP||Ruth Edwards MP|
|Secretary of State for Wales||Rt Hon. Simon Hart MP||Sarah Atherton MP|
|Secretary of State for Northern Ireland||Rt Hon. Brandon Lewis MP||Sarah Dines MP|
|Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons||Rt Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg MP||Lucy Allan MP|
|Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal||Rt Hon. Baroness Evans of Bowes Park||Chris Green MP|
|Attorney General||Rt Hon. Suella Braverman QC MP||Alberto Costa MP|
|Minister without Portfolio and Conservative Party Chairman||Rt Hon. Amanda Milling MP||Damien Moore MP|
|The Leader of the Opposition||Rt Hon. Sir Keir Starmer KCB QC MP||Sharon Hodgson MP|
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