Friday, July 25, 2008

Gordon Brown's right hand

I've been trying to figure out since he came to office who his second was.

Technically, the answer is Harriet Harman (Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal, Minister for Women and Equality, Labour Party Chair and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party). She fills in at Prime Minister's Questions when he is unable and would become Acting Prime Minister in the event of his death. However, at the beginning of his term there was talk as to why she had not been named Deputy Prime Minister, First Secretary of State or both and Brown stated that she would not fill the deputy role she is now filling.

My second candidate is Jack Straw (Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice). There was significant talk at the beginning of Brown's term that he had given Straw both right hand positions which were later refuted by both Brown and Straw. While I was in London one headline really caught my eye amongst the hundreds of adverts: WILL BROWN BUT STRAW'S LOYALTY WITH DEPUTY JOB?

Next on my list is the next most mentioned minister, Alistair Darling (Chancellor of the Exchequer). Darling holds Brown's former post where Brown held the most power but Brown doesn't seem to be giving Darling the power he had while he was under Tony Blair. The chancellor is known to be one of the positions whose power is determined by who the Prime Minister is.

Fourth is someone who I recently switched with the below. Jacqui Smith (Secretary of State for the Home Department). Not very well known among many of the others on the list, after speaking with several people, I have been told the the Home Secretary is one of the most powerful positions in the government, bar none. One Londoner told me that Home Secretaries are generally an unofficial deputy.

Fifth is the man who I descended after seeing how little he is mentioned even though he does hold one of those godly positions in Cabinet: David Miliband (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs). Despite his position, he I have rarely seen him in news and don't consider a powerful man.

To round out the list is Des Browne (Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary of State for Scotland). He is simply here because of his high positions.

The could go on but beyond these men and women, the rest of Cabinet's status among each other, the ministry, parliament and the government as a whole are very difficult for me to understand.

Who do you think the positions should go to?

4 comments:

Leonard^Bloom said...

Although Scottish politics don't really affect me, I think I would go with Jack Straw. He has lots of previous experience with the House of Commons. And, he was involved with the Shadow Environment business. If I remember correctly, didn't he also work with the Foreign/Commonwealth Office?

Oh well.

therequiembellishere said...

Scottish?

And yes, he was. I'll put the prospective Deputy Prime Ministers/First Secretaries of State's former cabinet posts. Opposition roles and parliament tenure outside of cabinet is in parentheses. Note that all positions mentioned in the original post have been held since 28 June 2007 with the exception of Des Browne, who has been Secretary of State for Defence from 05 May 2006

Harman:
Minister for Women; 03 May 1997 – 27 July 1998
Secretary of State for Social Security; 11 June 2001 – 10 May 2005
(Member of Parliament; 28 October 1982 – present)

Straw:
Secretary of State for the Home Department; 02 May 1997 – 08 June 2001
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; 08 June 2001 – 06 May 2006
Leader of the House of Commons; 06 May 2006 – 27 June 2007
Lord Privy Seal; 06 May 2006 – 27 June 2007
(Member of Parliament; 03 May 1979 – present)
(Shadow Secretary of State for Environment; 18 July 1992 – 22 July 1994)
(Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department; 22 July 1994 – 02 May 1997)

Darling:
Chief Secretary to the Treasury; 03 May 1997 – 27 July 1998
Secretary of State for Social Security; 27 July 1998 – 08 June 2001
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; 08 June 2001 – 29 May 2002
Secretary of State for Transport; 29 May 2002 – 05 May 2006
Secretary of State for Scotland; 13 June 2003 – 05 May 2006
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; 05 May 2006 – 27 June 2007
President of the Board of Trade; 05 May 2006 – 27 June 2007
(Member of Parliament; 11 June 1987 – present)

Smith:
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury; 05 May 2006 – 28 June 2007
Chief Whip of the House of Commons; 05 May 2006 – 28 June 2007
(Member of Parliament; 01 May 1997 – present)

Miliband:
Minister of State for Communities and Local Government; 06 May 2005 – 05 May 2006
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; 05 May 2006 – 27 June 2007
(Member of Parliament; 07 June 2001 – present)

Browne:
Chief Secretary to the Treasury; 06 May 2005 – 05 May 2006
(Member of Parliament; 01 May 1997 – present)

Diligent Terrier said...

I think Jack Straw will get the job because of his past experience in all areas.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Straw

therequiembellishere said...

That's what I think may happen, but looking at Darling again, he has a lot of experience in domestic affairs, which may be a stance Brown would like. Brown for the world, Darling for home.