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What do Sajid Javid and Arthur Balfour have in common?

John Rentoul

Sajid Sitting e1398957522811 286x300 What do Sajid Javid and Arthur Balfour have in common?Sajid Javid has just answered his first Questions in the House of Commons as Secretary of State for Culture. It was successfully dull, apart from Keith Vaz, who welcomed him to his post by saying: “This is the first time in the history of this country that a majority of Ministers in a Department are from the ethnic minority communities—all with different hairstyles, but all appointed on merit.”

But this gives me the chance to announce the results of David Mills’s important quest to compile a comprehensive list of British Cabinet ministers whose first and surnames have both ended in the same pair of letters.

Coming soon to a pub quiz near you, in reverse chronological order:

Sajid Javid, Culture Secretary, 2014-

Peter Walker, various offices, 1970-74, 1979-90.

William Graham, President of the Board of Trade, 1929-31.

Arthur Balfour, Prime Minister, 1902-05.

Aretas Akers-Douglas, Home Secretary, 1902-05.

Robert Stewart (Lord Castlereagh), Foreign Secretary, 1812-22.

Thank you to Paul Duffy, Matthew Doyle and Conservative History Group, who (or which) was responsible for finding Aretas, who, incidentally, wins a separate prize for the Most Shocking First Name of a British Cabinet Minister.

Best of all, in a triple-name category of his own:

Henry Lowry-Corry, First Lord of the Admiralty, 1867-68.

This was a Cabinet post in those days. Thanks to Labour History Group for him.

Thanks also to Tom Freeman, who pointed out that Alan Duncan, Lynne Featherstone and (stretching the point) Chris Heaton-Harris would all qualify if they were to achieve Cabinet status.

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  • Pacificweather

    Chris Heaton Harris is stretching the point to far. I would also rule out anyone who can’t decide what his surname is and feels the need for two. If two, why not four, eight or even sixteen.

  • Toby Lambert

    Aneurin Bevan? Alan Milburn? Alan Johnson?

  • JohnRentoul

    Last two letters of *both* names: SajID JavID, ArthUR BalfoUR.

  • JohnRentoul

    Last two letters of *both* names: SajID JavID, ArthUR BalfoUR.

  • mightymark

    The more names, the harder it should be to qualify – so Henry Lowry-Corry passses with flying colours but Chris Heaton-Harris falls at the first hurdle.

    Apart form anything else this interpretation has more chance of disadvantaging old Etonians – well, something has to!


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