|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)|
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First Secretary of State is an office sometimes held by a minister in the Government of the United Kingdom.
The office indicates seniority, including over all other Secretaries of State. The office is not always in use, so there have sometimes been extended gaps between successive holders. The incumbent First Secretary, Dominic Raab, was appointed on 24 July 2019.
Like the Deputy Prime Minister, the First Secretary enjoys no right of automatic succession to the office of Prime Minister. However, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to an intensive care unit on 6 April 2020 after contracting COVID-19, First Secretary Dominic Raab was asked "to deputise for him where necessary."
The office temporarily enjoyed some greater constitutional footing between when it was incorporated as a corporation sole in 2002 and having all of its remaining functions transferred in 2008. During most of this time, John Prescott was the First Secretary.
Lord Norton says that there are two benefits to a Prime Minister in appointing a First Secretary: firstly, it leaves a senior minister free to perform correlation, co-ordination and chair committees and, secondly, it enables the Prime Minister to send a signal as to the status of the holder. Stephen Thornton and Jonathan Kirkup have said that "the Office of First Secretary of State is only as important as the person holding that office is perceived to be important", but in certain circumstances the office "...can assume acute importance and real power" and it may yet become an office of substance.
In 1962, Rab Butler was the first person to be appointed to the office, in part to avoid earlier royal objections to the office of Deputy Prime Minister. The office gave him ministerial superiority over the rest of the Cabinet.
Later, Michael Heseltine and John Prescott held the office alongside being Deputy Prime Minister. The two offices have only existed concurrently with different holders in David Cameron's coalition government, wherein Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg was appointed Deputy Prime Minister, while William Hague was First Secretary.
|Term of office||Other ministerial offices||Party||Ministry||Ref.|
|R. A. Butler
MP for Saffron Walden
|Office not in use||1963-1964|
MP for Belper
(I & II)
MP for Fulham
MP for Blackburn
|Office not in use||1970-1995|
MP for Henley
|Office not in use||1997-2001|
MP for Kingston upon Hull East
|Office not in use||2007-2009|
MP for Richmond (Yorks)
MP for Tatton
|Office not in use||2016-2017|
MP for Ashford
|Office not in use||2017-2019|
MP for Esher and Walton
(I & II)