Guides

Johnson presides over his new Cabinet on Friday morning.

Cabinet

The Cabinet is the pre-eminent body of government of the United Kingdom. Meetings of the full Cabinet are normally held once a week on a Thursday morning, although historically the frequency has varied.Read More
Ministers leave after a Cabinet meeting. The narrative of the government becomes ever more difficult to discern.

Cabinet Committees

Cabinet Committees are groupings of Ministers designed to take the pressure off full Cabinet and to provide a lower-level forum for decision-making. Cabinet Committees are set up by the Prime Minister, and he or she appoints their membership.  Read More
Ministers lose right to determine civil service appointments

Civil Service

The Civil Service is the operational and management tool of the Government. Civil servants implement the outcomes of the policy-making process under the supervision of Government Ministers.Read More

Consultations

Government consultations are sounding exercises on the possibility of a government policy or a change in policy.Read More
Civil service for hire

Executive Agencies

Executive Agencies now account for the majority of civil servants employed. Ministers set targets for Executive agencies, whose spending appears on the balance sheet of the sponsoring government department.Read More
Treasury rejects report suggesting it lost £8.4 billion in VAT fraud last year

Government Spending

Government spending is controlled by the Treasury, which must account for all expenditure by departments. The Comprehensive Spending Review sets a Departmental Expenditure Limit, which is the department's budget going forward.Read More
David Cameron meets with his new policy board

Green Papers

Green Papers are consultative papers on the options that the Government has determined are available to it in a certain policy area, sometimes including suggestions for legislation.Read More
Kitchen Cabinet

Kitchen Cabinet

The Kitchen Cabinet is the term used to refer to the advisers at Number 10 who form the so-called 'inner circle' around the Prime Minister. The term was first used to describe the coterie of political allies that formed around Harold Wilson led by the formidable Marcia Williams. Read More
Attorney general says he will not bow to political pressure on paedophile sentencing

Law Officers

Government Law Officers are Parliamentarians with a legal background appointed by the Prime Minister to give legal advice to Ministers.Read More
Queen to attend Cabinet for first time since Queen Victoria's reign

Ministerial Code

The Ministerial Code requires Ministers to uphold the seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.Read More
Budget 2011 and prime minister's questions as-it-happened

Ministers of the Crown

Members of Parliament and Peers appointed by the Prime Minister to the Government are known as Ministers of the Crown. All Ministers, of whatever rank, have a Private Office of four or more civil servants assigned to him or her on appointment.Read More
Britain continues to look as if it's headed for a hung parliament

Parliamentary Branch

Each government department has a Parliamentary Branch. The Branch is charged with managing the department's relations with the House of Commons and the House of Lords.Read More
Yes, Prime Minister returns to the West End

Prime Minister

The leader of the largest party in the House of Commons is by convention asked by the Monarch to be Prime Minister and to form a government in a ceremony known anachronistically as the 'kissing of the hands. The Prime Minister has a wide range of direct powers.Read More
Prime Minister's Official Spokesperson

Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesperson is responsible for briefing the press and broadcast journalists on most weekdays when Parliament is sitting.  Initial plans for these UK briefings to be televised, as in the US, were put on hold in early 2021. Read More
The Queen sat in David Cameron's seat for the meeting

Privy Council

The Privy Council, as body of government, predates the Cabinet and the existence of the Prime Minister by many centuries. Originally the private council of trusted advisers surrounding the sovereign, it has evolved to become a somewhat hidden instrument of government.Read More
Vince Cable arrives for Cabinet in the days before the vote. Some observers believe the aftermath of the AV vote could break the coalition. Photo: www.politicalpictures.co.uk

Reshuffle

When a Prime Minister rearranges Ministers, dismissing some and bringing in new blood, this is known as a government reshuffle. During a major government reshuffle, it is not uncommon for between a third and a half of government posts to change hands.Read More
Cummings and Johnson launch attacks on a range of enemies, including Europeans and 'activist lawyers'

Special Advisers

Special advisers are temporary civil servants, employed for the duration of an administration to provide a political dimension to the non-partisan work of the general civil service. The number of Special Advisors who later go on to become Members of Parliament is considerable. Read More
White paper on House of Lords reform due today

White Paper

White Papers are detailed statements of Government policy, which set the broad principles for legislation, although not all White Papers lead to new laws.Read More