The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Chief Whip

The Chief Whip is a political office in some legislatures assigned to an elected member whose task is to administer the whipping system that ensures that members of the party attend and vote as the party leadership desires.

In British politics, when his or her party is in government the Chief Whip in the House of Commons is usually appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury so the incumbent (representing the whips in general) has a seat and a voice in Cabinet. The Government Chief Whip also has an official residence at 12 Downing Street.

As shown in Yes, Minister and House of Cards, the Chief Whip can wield a large amount of power over those in his or her party, up to and including Cabinet Ministers, being seen to speak at all times with the voice of the Prime Minister. Margaret Thatcher was famed for using her Chief Whip as a 'cabinet enforcer'.

In the House of Commons as of 2004, Hilary Armstrong is the Government Chief Whip and David Maclean is the Opposition Chief Whip.

There are also Chief Whips in:

Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04