PM rules Truss and Raab to share grace and favour house to settle row

Liz Truss and Dominic Raab will share a grace and favour mansion, Boris Johnson has ruled after the two were wrangling over its use. The two senior cabinet ministers have been battling over who would

PM rules Truss and Raab to share grace and favour house to settle row

Liz Truss and Dominic Raab will share a grace and favour mansion, Boris Johnson has ruled after the two were wrangling over its use.

The two senior cabinet ministers have been battling over who would have access to Chevening House since the cabinet reshuffle last month.

Ms Truss thought the 115-room country mansion near Sevenoaks in Kent would automatically be handed to her as it is traditionally reserved for foreign secretaries.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss meets with the three Baltic Foreign Ministers Edgars Rinkvis (left), Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Gabrielius Landsbergis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania and Eva-Maria Liimets (right), Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia at Chevening House in Kent. Picture date: Monday October 11, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Baltic. Photo credit should read: Hollie Adams/PA Wire
Image: Liz Truss hosted the leaders of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania at Chevening on Monday

But Mr Raab, whose job Ms Truss took, believed he should maintain access to Chevening after being made deputy prime minister, as well as the more junior position of justice secretary.

Eventually, Mr Johnson decided they should share it to prevent risking upsetting one of them.

He said there was precedent for sharing, citing the last time there was a deputy prime minister - Sir Nick Clegg - who shared it with then foreign secretary William Hague and then his successor, Philip Hammond.

A government spokesman said: "The deputy prime minister and foreign secretary will share access to Chevening as has happened in previous administrations."

More on Dominic Raab

The decision was made after Ms Truss pinned a picture of herself at the top of her Twitter feed showing her meeting the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at the Grade I-listed house.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wearing a face mask waits for the French and German foreign ministers to arrive for an E3 Ministers meeting at Chevening House in Sevenoaks, Kent.
Image: Dominic Raab waiting outside Chevening for the French and German foreign ministers when he was foreign secretary
Boris Johnson (L) and Czech Republic's Deputy Foreign Minister Ivo Sramek (R) go out onto a boating lake in a rowing boat before attending a lunch meeting with other European foreign ministers at the British Foreign Secretary's official residence Chevening House
Image: Boris Johnson pictured with the Czech deputy foreign minister at Chevening in 2017

The Chevening Estate Act 1959 states that the house, which is privately owned by a board of trustees, is occupied by someone nominated by the prime minister.

Chevening was given to the nation by the seventh Earl Stanhope when he died, to allow a senior minister access to a grand retreat outside London.

His decision was inspired by the prime minister's use of the Buckinghamshire country house, Chequers.