Liam Fox had better not be late for meetings of the UK government’s new Board of Trade – because he is its only official member.
The international trade secretary’s role was confirmed earlier by his department, as the Board met for the first time, in Bristol.
An official was quick to say “it’s not just Liam Fox sitting in a room on his own”, adding that would be “peculiar”.
Full membership, it seems, is restricted to Privy Counsellors.
There are 14 advisers to the Board, including ministers and business figures, but only Mr Fox belongs to the elite group of senior politicians who advise the Queen.
An international trade department spokesperson said: “We’ve been clear the Board of Trade needs to to act as the eyes and ears of modern business.
“That is why we are drawing on prominent figures from business and politics across the UK and not just restricting to Privy Counsellors, as happened in the past.”
The Board of Trade dates backs to the 17th Century but in modern times its president has tended to be the business secretary.