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Mapping the Government: The Location of Ministers' Constituencies

27/05/2015 16:57 BST | Updated 27/05/2016 10:59 BST

In his first speech following the election, the Prime Minister said that the Conservatives would govern 'as a party of one nation, one United Kingdom'. But just how far across the UK does his government actually stretch?

Government ministers' constituencies are spread across England and Wales (and one in Scotland)...

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David Cameron's MPs (the lightest blue) are spread across all corners of England, if not all corners of the UK. There are also ministers (the darker blue) and Cabinet ministers (the darkest blue) in all regions (except Northern Ireland). But this widely distributed blanket of blue across this map does not tell the whole story.

...but they are concentrated in the South and East of England.

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71% of government ministers (not including those drawn from the Lords) have constituencies in London, the East, South East or South West of England. Constituencies in these regions are smaller by area than elsewhere in the country, so are harder to spot on the map. 63% of Conservative MPs have seats in these regions, which constitute 42% of all parliamentary constituencies.

By contrast, the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber are collectively 28% Conservative. Only 11% of positions in government (again, excluding the Lords) are held by MPs from these regions.

One of them is James Wharton, the new minister for the 'Northern Powerhouse' in DCLG. Wharton holds the North East seat of Stockton South - far removed from Greater Manchester, which has been the focus of the Chancellor's efforts to create this 'powerhouse' to date. His appointment signals the Conservative government's willingness to extend political and economic devolution across the whole of the North of England - although further devolution in this area is likely to see a transfer of power to more Labour-dominated urban centres.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have three ministers between them, down from six before the election.

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The SNP landslide in Scotland has brought a new block of north-of the-border power to the House, but it has made little difference to the Conservatives - who have retained their one Scottish seat. With the loss of the Liberal Democrats from Government, however, the number of ministers with seats outside England has fallen by half.

At the end of the coalition, 6% (six out of 93) of MPs in government held constituencies outside of England. Under the new Conservative government, that proportion is now 3% (three out of 91). All three of these ministers have roles in their respective regional offices: Stephen Crabb and Alun Cairns as Secretary of State and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales, and David Mundell as Secretary of State for Scotland. Theresa Villiers - Secretary of State for Northern Ireland - holds a seat in North London.

The opposition front bench is concentrated in London and the North of England.

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The bulk of Labour's shadow team (the frontbench in dark red, with the shadow Cabinet in darkest red) come from London and the North of England, as do their MPs (light red). Over half of the shadow cabinet holds a seat in either the North West, or in Yorkshire and the Humber. This includes three of the four currently declared contenders for the Labour leadership: Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Mary Creagh (Liz Kendall holds a seat in the East Midlands).

Prior to the election, 11 shadow posts were held by Scottish MPs. Two of them (Douglas Alexander and Margaret Curran) were shadow Cabinet members. Now only Ian Murray remains - a lonely red dot in Edinburgh South - promoted from a junior member of the BIS team to Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.

All of the major parties have reasons to be looking North over the coming months and years: Labour shoring up their residual heartlands, the Conservatives building their pan-Northern urban power centre, and the SNP promoting the specifically Scottish interests they were elected to represent. But when it comes to MPs in government, power still remains resolutely in the South.