The role of the Deputy Prime Minister
Deputising for the Prime Minister
The Deputy Prime Minister chairs a range of Cabinet Committees on behalf of
the Prime Minister, and deputises for him domestically. This includes
chairing full Cabinet and standing in for Prime Minister's Questions
when the Prime Minister is away.
The Deputy Prime Minister also oversees Government business when the Prime
Minister is on holiday. This arrangement has been in place for the
past ten years. The Prime Minister remains in close contact with the
Deputy Prime Minister during these periods.
Events where the Deputy Prime Minister has overseen the UK Government response during his
"watch" include: the follow-up to the 7/7 London bombings in
2005; the Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004 and the flooding in Boscastle,
Cornwall, in 2004.
Internationally, the Deputy Prime Minister is often asked to represent the
Government on foreign visits, and meets visiting dignitaries to the
UK on the Prime Minister’s
Recently, for example, the Deputy Prime Minister hosted President Lula da
Silva of Brazil for part of his State visit to the UK. In the past few months he has met the Deputy
Prime Minister of Singapore in London, visited the Prime Minister of
Finland in Helsinki for talks ahead of the Finnish Presidency of the
European Union, and has welcomed the Prime Minister of Georgia in London.
During the 2005 UK Presidency of
the European Union, the Deputy Prime Minister maintained close contact with
a number of the 10 new EU
succession states, including meetings with the Presidents and Prime
Ministers of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Croatia.
The Deputy Prime Minister was also the main political link between the
UK Presidency and the European
The Deputy Prime Minister carries out certain long-term responsibilities on
the Prime Minister's behalf, such as chairing the British Irish Council
and maintaining high-level political links with China (including chairing
the China Task Force).