First Secretary of State
First Secretary of State is a title sometimes given to a cabinet minister in the Government of the United Kingdom. The title implies seniority over all other Secretaries of State, but has no specific powers or authority attached to it, including no automatic sucession to the Prime Minister. The title is not always in use, so there have sometimes been extended gaps between successive holders of the title.
|First Secretary of State|
|Government of the United Kingdom|
Office of the Prime Minister
|Style||The Right Honourable|
First Secretary of State (informal)
|Reports to||The Prime Minister|
|Residence||None, may use Grace and favour residences|
|Nominator||The Prime Minister|
|Appointer||The British Monarch|
on the advice of the Prime Minister
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Inaugural holder||Rab Butler|
|Formation||13 July 1962|
|Salary||£153,022 (annual, including £81,932 MP's salary)|
|This article is part of a series on|
|United Kingdom politics|
The title temporarily enjoyed some greater constitutional footing between when it was incorporated as a corporate sole in 2002 and having all of its remaining functions transferred in 2008. During most of this time, the title was held by John Prescott.
The role has had varying responsibilities over time. The most recent responsibilities are:[better source needed]
- Supporting the Prime Minister in the running of the Government of the United Kingdom.
- Deputising for the Prime Minister.
- Advising the Prime Minister on developing and implementing government policy.
- Answering the questions at PMQs in absence of Prime Minister.
Relationship with the title of Deputy Prime Minister
The title of Deputy Prime Minister indicates that the holder ranks de facto second in government, after the Prime Minister, but does not confer cabinet rank. As it is not mentioned in the UK's uncodified constitution, it also does not come with any executive powers or automatically pay a salary, while the title of Secretary of State does pay a salary.
The title of First Secretary of State was created in 1962 for Deputy Prime Minister R. A. Butler, granting him a place in cabinet despite not holding a specific cabinet portfolio. Michael Heseltine and John Prescott were also relieved of their cabinet portfolios when serving as Deputy Prime Minister and were therefore additionally appointed First Secretary of State.
In 1964, Prime Minister Harold Wilson established the alternative usage, appointing a First Secretary of State among the cabinet without appointing a Deputy Prime Minister.
The two titles have only existed concurrently with different holders in David Cameron's coalition government, wherein Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg was appointed Deputy Prime Minister, while William Hague was appointed First Secretary of State.
List of First Secretaries of State
|Term of office||Other ministerial offices||Party||Ministry||Ref.|
|R. A. Butler
MP for Saffron Walden
|Title not in use||1963–1964|
MP for Belper
(I & II)
MP for Fulham
MP for Blackburn
|Title not in use||1970–1995|
MP for Henley
|Title not in use||1997–2001|
MP for Kingston upon Hull East
(II & III)
|Title not in use||2007–2009|
MP for Richmond (Yorks)
MP for Tatton
|Title not in use||2016–2017|
MP for Ashford
|Title not in use||2017–2019|
MP for Esher and Walton
(I & II)
- Served as Secretary of State for Economic Affairs until August 1967
- Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from March 1968
- Deputy Prime Minister from May 1997
- Served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs until July 2014.
- Served as Leader of the House of Commons from July 2014
- Nicholas Watt (8 May 2015). "George Osborne made first secretary of state in cabinet reshuffle". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- The Transfer of Functions (Transport, Local Government and the Regions) Order 2002 Article 3(1).
- The Transfer of Functions (Miscellaneous) Order 2008 Article 7.
- "Dominic Raab appointed UK foreign secretary, first secretary of state: statement". Reuters. London. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
- "Statement from Downing Street: 6 April 2020". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
- "First Secretary of State - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
- Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 Sch 1.
- Howard, Anthony (February 7, 2013). "RAB: The Life of R.A. Butler". A&C Black.
- David Butler and Gareth Butler, British Political Facts 1900–1994 (7th edn, Macmillan 1994) 62.
- "Lord Heseltine". UK Parliament. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- "Lord Prescott". UK Parliament. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- "Lord Hague of Richmond". UK Parliament. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- "Rt Hon George Osborne". UK Parliament. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- "Rt Hon Damian Green MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- Stewart, Heather. "Damian Green sacked as first secretary of state after porn allegations". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 December 2017.