How important are ministers?

By Michael Burton | 28 January 2020
  • Michael Burton

Do we need ministers? All 109 of them? The answer from local government chief officers will almost certainly be a resounding ‘no’ or at least a reluctant acceptance so long as ministers avoid the temptation to interfere.

Diaries from Tory politician Alan Clark and Labour’s Chris Mullin both hilariously describe the futility of junior ministerial life, an endless round of dreary site visits, pointless meetings and long days rammed with appointments put together by private secretaries to keep their political bosses occupied. With a reshuffle due after Brexit day this week it is time to ask just what we expect from politicians.

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