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Royal Prerogative

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

22. To what extent he expects his responsibilities to the Queen for the general administration of the Duchy of Lancaster to be affected by the proposed changes to the royal prerogative. (149815)

The reform of the royal prerogative is designed to make the Executive more accountable to Parliament in important decisions such as going to war and making treaties. Since the appointment of a Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster raises no such issues, we do not currently propose change in this area.

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for that courteous and informative response, but I was wondering whether he is the Minister for the Cabinet Office or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. If it is the latter, why, at the start of the 21st century, do we require a Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster? If it is the former, will the right hon. Gentleman please ensure that the Table Office has a list of his responsibilities, and those of other Ministers, so that I and other colleagues do not have to dream up questions on the chancellorship and the royal prerogative for his Question Time?

The answer to the hon. Gentleman’s question is that I have both titles: Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. As to his suggested reform of the role of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is a personal prerogative of Her Majesty, but I can pass on his representations to the Prime Minister. My responsibilities cover the span of those of the Cabinet Office, such as social exclusion, the third sector, civil service reform, e-government and a range of other matters. As for his question about the Table Office, I am sure that that is not within my area of responsibility.