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.
Mr Fox said: “There is a world of opportunity out there for UK businesses and the Board of Trade will help identify and unlock new export markets and encourage further inward investment.
“The advisers on the Board will act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the modern businesses community to ensure the benefits of free trade are spread equally across the country.”
The Board of Trade dates backs to the 17th Century but in modern times its president has tended to be the business secretary.