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Minister Without Portfolio

Volume 650: debated on Thursday 30 November 1961

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asked the Prime Minister what are the functions and responsibilities of the Minister Without Portfolio.

The Minister Without Portfolio has the responsibility normally carried by a member of the Cabinet who has no Departmental duties.

Does the Prime Minister recall that the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) once during the war described Ministers without Departmental responsibilities as "brooding in ignorance on the work of others"? In view a that, can the Prime Minister say whether the Minister Without Portfolio has jurisdiction over the pay pause, or is that the exclusive achievement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

That is a rather good supplementary question which, no doubt, took a lot of thinking out. In most Cabinets there are a number, I think fourteen or fifteen, of Ministers with Departmental duties, and it has been found convenient to have five or six without Departmental duties.

Some day—but I hope it will be a long time—the noble Lord will meet him in another place.