Why are cabinets growing in size? The average number is 24 and since John Major’s first cabinet in 1990, there have been none with fewer seats around the table. David Cameron’s cabinet has 23 full members, but a total of 32 ministers able to visit.
Prime Ministers have had to adapt their cabinets to meet the demands of changing government. For example, after Tony Blair’s government had the devolution bill passed, positions were created in cabinet for representation for each of the devolved countries. When globalisation become more important, a secretary of state for International Development was created.
It’s not clear, though, whether a larger cabinet leads to a more effective government. Clement Attlee’s 19-strong cabinet created the NHS and the welfare reforms that are still in place today.
Meanwhile, the Thatcher administration only ever reached the dizzy heights of 23 ministers attending cabinet. Gordon Brown’s cabinet, by contrast, was never smaller than 26.Tags: Autumn reshuffle 2012, Cabinet, UK politics