Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Wednesday, 13 August 2008 16:24 UK

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is a member of the cabinet.

It is an ancient title which nowadays carries rather light, nominal duties in connection with the administration of the Duchy's estates and rents.

For this reason, being appointed to this role has in the past been ironically derided by onlookers as an underhand way of demoting a minister without having to sack anyone.

In modern times however, the holder of the title has been able to combine this post with more heavyweight political tasks.

In September 2004, Tony Blair, then prime minister, appointed former health secretary Alan Milburn to the post, with the additional responsibility of co-ordinating Labour's general election campaign.

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