“only 21 ministers can receive salaries”

In the Irish Times, Gerry Moriarty helpfully explains the circumstances [subs req] in which our new Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, will not be in receipt of his ministerial salary.. as noted yesterday.

Mr Woodward is forgoing his ministerial salary because the new British prime minister Gordon Brown has 22 ministers in his government and according to cabinet rules only 21 ministers can receive salaries.

He will hold on to his MP’s salary of £60,000 (€89,000) but must forgo £76,000 per annum. Multi-millionaire Mr Woodward, married to the Sainbsury supermarket heiress Camilla Sainsbury, with family residences also in the Hamptons in New York and on the Caribbean island of Mustique, should manage to endure this hardship.

[Do you think that was taken into consideration when his name came up? – Ed] Update A slight corrective. Malcolm points out in the comments zone that the Ministerial and other Salaries Act of 1975, although it doesn’t seem to be available online, restricts the number of paid Cabinet positions to 22 – that appears to be confirmed on Wikipedia’s UK Cabinet page. The issue is still applicable however, as the actual UK Cabinet page notes – “The present cabinet has 23 members (21 MPs and two peers), but a further three ministers attend the meetings, two peers and one MP.” Although it’s worth noting that on Ruth Kelly’s website[scroll down] the phrasing used is – “There is no limit on the size of the Cabinet but the number of salaried Secretaries of State is limited to 21 by the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975. ” And Finally, that would fit with an analysis where only 21 Cabinet Ministers could be paid.. not counting the Prime Minister Updated The relevant Schedule of the Act and the salary, for a Secretary of State, appears to be £77,963. [Thanks to Mishinish]