13

On June 26th, Sajid Javid replaced Matt Hancock as the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care after the latter's resignation. This is Javid's sixth cabinet-level position within seven years:

Cabinet Position Ministry Dates
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport First Cameron Ministry 2014–15
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Second Cameron Ministry 2015–16
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government First May Ministry 2016–18
Home Secretary Second May Ministry 2018–19
Chancellor of the Exchequer First Johnson Ministry 2019–20
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Second Johnson Ministry 2021–

This is definitely quite a CV, but is this a record? Has anyone ever held more than six different cabinet-level positions? If so, what about in such a short space of time?

As the list of cabinet-level positions changes over time, let's consider the state of the office when it was held by the individual in question.

4
  • Is this question restricted to the UK, or are cabinet members from other governments eligible too ?
    – Evargalo
    Jun 28 at 9:40
  • 2
    @Evargalo I'm really interested in the UK for this question; doesn't seem fair to compare apples to oranges. Could make an interesting separate question though!
    – CDJB
    Jun 28 at 9:44
  • 1
    @Evargalo Even more interesting would be if anyone has been a cabinet member in more than one country? Or for that matter any other elected/appointed government official in more than one country. (Other than ambassadors, they obviously get shuffled around a bit.) Jun 28 at 20:22
18

Well, to begin with a classic, Winston Churchill was:

  • President of the Board of Trade (1908-1910),
  • Home Secretary (1910-1911),
  • First Lord of the Admiralty (1911-1915),
  • Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, i.e. minister without portfolio (1915)
  • Minister of Munitions (1917-1919),
  • Secretary of State for War (1919-1921), concurrently with
  • Secretary of State for Air (1919-1921),
  • Secretary of State for the Colonies (1921-1922),
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924-1929),
  • First Lord of the Admiralty (again), (1939-1940),
  • Prime Minister (1940-1945),
  • Prime Minister (again) (1951-1955)

which gives a grand total of 12 (with dupes) or 10 (without dupes).

0
10

I haven't been able to discover anyone with a more varied collection of cabinet posts than Churchill, but in more recent years, John Reid, now Baron Reid, held eight Cabinet-level positions during Tony Blair's reign as Prime Minister - all within a seven-year period.

Cabinet Position Ministry Dates
Secretary of State for Scotland First Blair Ministry 1999–2001
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland First Blair Ministry 2001–02
Minister Without Portfolio Second Blair Ministry 2002–03
Leader of the House of Commons Second Blair Ministry 2003
Lord President of the Council Second Blair Ministry 2003
Secretary of State for Health Second Blair Ministry 2003–05
Secretary of State for Defence Third Blair Ministry 2005–06
Home Secretary Third Blair Ministry 2006–07
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