The office of Downing Street Chief of Staff is the most senior political appointee in the Office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, acting as a senior aide to the prime minister, a powerful, non-ministerial position within Her Majesty's Government.
The role of chief of staff initially had executive authority, and at the time of its creation, was referred to as “almost certainly the most powerful unelected official in the country”, and possibly “the third most powerful altogether” after the prime minister and the chancellor of the exchequer.
Since 2007 the role does not legally have executive authority, although the post holder remains by definition the senior adviser to the prime minister.
From 1997 to 2019 and from November 2020, the title of chief of staff has been held by the most senior special adviser at Downing Street.
Steve Barclay, the Member of Parliament for North East Cambridgeshire, has served as chief of staff since February 2022 following the resignation of Dan Rosenfield. He is the first MP to do so.
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