Ministerial role

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development


The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (PUSS) is a junior ministerial role at the Department for International Development. The PUSS is responsible for steering and monitoring the performance and delivery of DFID’s work in the following areas:

  • Africa: Africa Regional; DRC; Ethiopia; Ghana; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mozambique; Nigeria; Rwanda; Sahel; Sierra Leone; Somalia; Southern Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
  • Emerging Policy, Innovation, and Capability
  • Research
  • Human Development
  • Global Funds
  • Climate and Environment
  • Inclusive Societies: disability; ageing; faith; LGBT; VAWG – ensuring consistency with his wider portfolio
  • Corporate Performance within his areas of responsibility

Current role holder: James Wharton MP

James Wharton was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Development. He was elected Conservative MP for Stockton South in May 2010.


James has a degree in law from Durham University.

Political career

James sat on the Public Accounts Committee from July 2010 to November 2012. During the 2013-14 session James introduced a Private Member’s Bill on the EU Referendum. He was elected to the Board of the Conservative Party in October 2014.

He served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government with responsibility for the Northern Powerhouse from May 2015 until July 2016.

Career outside politics

On graduating James completed the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in York before training to be a solicitor with a regional firm, and working in Newcastle, Durham and Darlington.

Personal life

James currently lives in Eaglescliffe. He is a keen walker and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Previous holders of this role

  1. Baroness Verma

    • 2015 to 2016
  2. Baroness Northover

    • 2014 to 2015
  3. The Rt Hon Lynne Featherstone

    • 2012 to 2014
  4. The Rt Hon Stephen O’Brien

    • 2010 to 2012


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  1. Minister Wharton: UK will stand by people of Ethiopia affected by severe drought

    • News story
  2. UK Government calls for the release of all abducted by Boko Haram

    • Press release
  3. Minister Wharton reinforces UK support for refugees in Uganda

    • News story
  4. Minister Wharton emphasises need for peace in South Sudan

    • News story
  5. DFID celebrates London Pride 2016

    • News story
  6. FCO and DFID Ministers mark London Pride

    • Press release
  7. "10 million new births registered means an additional 10 million children relying on UNICEF. UNICEF cannot and must not lose momentum."

    • Speech
  8. UK leads new approach to prevent and respond to crises at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit

    • News story
  9. DFID flies the rainbow flag

    • News story
  10. Building peace and preventing conflict to deliver on the Agenda 2030 promises

    • Speech