What’s with all the made-up titles for government ministers?

Titles are seemingly selected out of a spirit of boosterism entirely in keeping with Boris Johnson’s tendency to boast about things he hasn’t achieved yet, writes Andrew Woodcock

Thursday 19 May 2022 21:30
<p>In earlier, more innocent times, Michael Gove would have been the minister for local government</p>

In earlier, more innocent times, Michael Gove would have been the minister for local government

As a Westminster correspondent, one of my bugbears has always been the titles politicians give themselves.

On the most basic level, there’s always that nagging worry at the back of your mind as you write – people do know that secretaries run the departments in Whitehall, don’t they? They do realise that shadow ministers aren’t just tagging along on work experience?

Then there’s the fantasy Ruritania titles which seem designed only to confuse. Anyone know what the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster does? Or the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal? And worst of all for a reporter with a word-count to stick to, there is the plague of ever-expanding titles which swallow up more and more column inches with indigestible verbiage. Surely the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy or the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport could spare us all a few words from their overgrown monikers?

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