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Who is the most powerful person in Britain?

Gavin Williamson, the Tory chief whip, has been sent to Belfast to negotiate with the DUP. Credit: PA

Who is the most powerful person in the government, after that remarkable election?

Well it is probably someone you've never heard of, namely Gavin Williamson, the Tory chief whip.

You can tell he matters, because as I told you yesterday he has been sent to Belfast to negotiate a deal with the DUP to prop up Theresa May's minority government.

Why is he arguably more important than the PM?

Well it is because May gambled away Cameron's majority in the Commons - and it's his job to calculate what measures will get through parliament, and to use every trick under the sun to persuade recalcitrant MPs to do what he wants (House of Cards is not really fiction).

Right now he is calibrating whether what the DUP are demanding from May will be tolerated by Tory MPs.

Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, with Prime Minister Theresa May in July 2016. Credit: PA

Also he will assess what in the Tory manifesto stands any chance of being backed by MPs. In that sense he will be drafting the Queens Speech which will be delivered - in theory at least - a week on Monday.

With the Tories having lost their overall majority it is somewhat moot whether any of the more distinctive policies in the Tory manifesto would command a majority.

As the former Tory minister Nicky Morgan told me this morning, the proposal to allow many more grammar schools to be created looks dead buried.

And it is now close to inconceivable that May's plans to means test the winter fuel allowance, to end the triple lock on pension rises and to force all older people to pay for their social care will now go ahead.

Perhaps it is appropriate that the proposals that did so much damage to May during her campaign will have to be ditched if she is to cling on even for a few weeks.

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