|Political offices in the UK government|
|List of political offices|
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 shadow minister. 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.
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.
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.
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||Incumbent||Parliamentary Private Secretary|
|Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Union, Minister for the Civil Service||Rt Hon. Boris Johnson MP||Andrew Griffith MP|
|Sarah Dines MP|
|Deputy Prime Minister||Rt Hon. Dominic Raab MP||Mike Wood MP|
|Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice||Rt Hon. Dominic Raab MP||Julie Marson MP|
|Ministry of Justice ministerial team||Joy Morrissey MP|
|Chancellor of the Exchequer||Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP||Claire Coutinho MP|
|HM Treasury ministerial team||Craig Williams MP|
|Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs; Minister for Women and Equalities||Rt Hon. Liz Truss MP||Bim Afolami FRSA MP|
|Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office ministerial team||Sarah Atherton MP|
|Secretary of State for the Home Department||Rt Hon. Priti Patel MP||Paul Holmes MP|
|Home Office ministerial team||Gagan Mohindra MP|
|Secretary of State for Defence||Rt Hon. Ben Wallace MP||Suzanne Webb MP|
|Ministry of Defence ministerial team||James Sunderland MP|
|Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; Minister for Intergovernmental Relations||Rt Hon. Michael Gove MP||Angela Richardson MP|
|Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities ministerial team||Jacob Young MP|
|Danny Kruger MBE MP|
|Secretary of State for Health and Social Care||Rt Hon. Sajid Javid MP||Saqib Bhatti MBE MP|
|Department of Health and Social Care ministerial team||Natalie Elphicke OBE MP|
|Minister for the Cabinet Office, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster||Rt Hon. Stephen Barclay MP||Jane Hunt MP|
|Cabinet Office ministerial team||Ian Levy MP|
|Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy||Rt Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng MP||Mark Fletcher MP|
|Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy ministerial team||Felicity Buchan MP|
|COP26 President||Rt Hon. Alok Sharma MP||Katherine Fletcher MP|
|Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade||Rt Hon. Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP||Jack Brereton MP|
|Department for International Trade ministerial team||Peter Gibson MP|
|Secretary of State for Work and Pensions||Rt Hon. Thérèse Coffey||Flick Drummond MP|
|Department for Work and Pensions ministerial team||Gareth Bacon MP|
|Secretary of State for Education||Rt Hon. Nadhim Zahawi MP||Sara Britcliffe MP|
|Department for Education ministerial team||David Johnston OBE MP|
|Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs||Rt Hon. George Eustice MP||Fay Jones MP|
|Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ministerial team||Selaine Saxby MP|
|Secretary of State for Transport||Rt Hon. Grant Shapps MP||Laura Trott MBE MP|
|Department for Transport ministerial team||Nicola Richards MP|
|Secretary of State for Northern Ireland||Rt Hon. Brandon Lewis CBE MP||Jonathan Gullis MP|
|Secretary of State for Scotland||Rt Hon. Alister Jack DL MP||Ruth Edwards MP|
|Secretary of State for Wales||Rt Hon. Simon Hart MP||Virginia Crosbie MP|
|Leader of the House of Lords, Lord Privy Seal||Rt Hon. Baroness Evans of Bowes Park MBE PC||Chris Clarkson MP|
|Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport||Rt Hon. Nadine Dorries MP||John Lamont MP|
|Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport ministerial team||Lia Nici MP|
|Minister without Portfolio (Chairman of the Conservative Party)||Rt Hon. Oliver Dowden CBE MP||James Wild MP|
|Lord President of the Council, Leader of the House of Commons||Rt Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg MP||Lucy Allan MP|
|Attorney General||Rt Hon. Suella Braverman QC MP||Alberto Costa MP|
|Leader of the Opposition||Rt Hon. Sir Keir Starmer KCB QC MP||Sharon Hodgson MP|
While giving the holder a close-up view of the workings of government at the highest levels, relatively few Parliamentary Private Secretaries to the Prime Minister seem to have gone on to serve at the highest level of government themselves, although Sir Alec Douglas-Home served as Prime Minister in 1963–4, while Anthony Barber was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1970 to 1974, Robert Carr, Home Secretary, 1972–4, and Christopher Soames, Peter Shore, and Gavin Williamson, the current Secretary of State for Education, all went on to be senior Cabinet ministers.