Secretary of State (United Kingdom)
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Secretary of State United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, better known as Secretaries of State, are senior Ministers of the Crown in the Government of the United Kingdom.[1]

Secretaries of State head most major government departments[2] and make up the majority of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.[3]

There are currently 16 different Secretaries of State.[3] They are all also currently Members of Parliament.[3]

Legal position

Under the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975, a maximum of 21 Secretaries of State can receive a salary.[4]

Legislation also generally only refers to "the Secretary of State" without specifying which one, but, by virtue of the Interpretation Act 1978, this phrase means "one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State".[5] Despite there only being one Secretary of State in law, in practice, each Secretary of State will perforce stay within their own portfolio.[2]

Secretaries of State, like other government ministers, are appointed through the royal prerogative.[6]

History

Kingdom of England

The origin of the office lays in the office of the King's private secretary.[2] However, by the Tudor period, the office's purview had become more onerous.[2]

In 1539 or 1540, Henry VIII appointed two people to the office.[2][7] After the Stuart Restoration, the practice of appointing two Secretaries of State resumed.[8] A formal division, in the form of the offices of Secretary of State for the Northern Department and the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, was made in 1689,[2] though the office was first divided into the Northern and Southern Department purviews in 1660.[7]

After the Union

In 1782, the arrangement of these offices orally changed, so that one would be responsible for foreign affairs and one for domestic affairs, thus establishing the embryonic offices of Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary.[2][8]

Over time, the number of Secretaries of States grew, so that there were five in 1900 and 14 by 1996.[2] There are currently 16 different Secretaries of State.[3]

Secretary of Stateships currently in use

Secretary of Stateships currently in use
Office Created Created from Dissolved Dissolved into Ref(s)
Secretary of State for the Home Department 1782 (orally; embryonically) [2]
Secretary of State for Scotland 1709 1746 [2]
1926 or 1928 [2][7]
Secretary of State for Wales 1964 Minister of Welsh Affairs (Home Office) [9]
Secretary of State for Defence 1964 [10]
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 1972
[11]
Secretary of State for Transport 1976 Secretary of State for the Environment 1979 [12][7]
1981 [7]
2002 Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions [13]
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2001 Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions [14]
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2002 Secretary of State for Social Security [15]
First Secretary of State 1962 (invented) [16]
2002 (incorporated as corporation sole) Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions [13]
Secretary of State for Justice 2007 Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs [17]
Secretary of State for Education 2010 Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families [18]
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 2016 [19]
Secretary of State for International Trade 2016 Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [19]
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 2017 Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport [20]
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 2018 Secretary of State for Health [21]
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 2018 Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [21]
Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs 2020 [22]

Secretary of Stateships no longer in use

Secretary of Stateships no longer in use
Office Created Created from Dissolved Dissolved into Ref(s)
Secretary of State for the Northern Department 1689 Secretary of State 1782 (orally; embryonically) [2]
Secretary of State for the Southern Department
Secretary of State for the Colonies 1768 1782 Secretary of State for the Home Department [2][7]
1854 Secretary of State for War and the Colonies 1966 Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs [2]
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 1782 (orally; embryonically) 1968 Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2]
Secretary of State for War 1794 1801 Secretary of State for War and the Colonies [2]
1854 Secretary of State for War and the Colonies 1964 Secretary of State for Defence [2]
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies 1801 1854 [2]
Secretary of State for India 1858 President of the Board of Control 1937 Secretary of State for India and Burma [7]
Secretary of State for Air 1919 1964 Secretary of State for Defence [10][7]
Secretary of State for the Dominions 1925 [7]
Secretary of State for India and Burma 1937 Secretary of State for India 1947 Secretary of State for Burma [7]
Secretary of State for Burma 1947 Secretary of State for India and Burma 1948 [7]
Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations 1947 1966 Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs [7]
Secretary of State for the Co-Ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power 1951 1953 [7]
Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs 1966 Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations 1968 [7]
Secretary of State for Economic Affairs 1964 1969 [7]
Secretary of State for Education and Science 1964 [7]
Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity 1968 [7]
Secretary of State for Social Services 1968 Minister of Health

Minister of Social Security

[7]
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1968 Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 2020 [22][7]
Secretary of State for Local Government and Regional Planning 1969 1970 [7]
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry 1970 1974 [7]
Secretary of State for Employment 1970 [7]
Secretary of State for the Environment 1970 [7]
Secretary of State for Industry 1974 [7]
Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection 1974 1979 [7]
Secretary of State for Trade 1974 [7]
Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 2016 2020 [23][24]

Health, education, work, business, energy, environment, transport and the regions

The Secretary of Stateships that have been used for the matters of health, education, work, business, energy, environment, transport and the regions are shown in the graphic below. It shows how portfolios of responsibilities have been broadly passed down from one Secretary of State position to the position(s) directly below it. However, it is impossible for such a graphic to be completely accurate; it cannot show smaller changes, or gains or losses of responsibilities within a position due to changes of responsibilities for the UK Government (for example, due to devolution or Brexit). It is not to scale. In the gaps, and before the first of these Secretaries of State, relevant responsibilities were taken on by ministers not titled 'Secretary of State'.

1963 Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development (1963-64)
1964 Secretary of State for Education and Science (1964-92)
1968 Secretary of State for Health and Social Services (1968-88) Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (1968-70)
1969 Secretary of State for Local Government and Regional Planning (1969-70)
1970 Secretary of State for Employment (1970-95) Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1970-74)
1974 Secretary of State for Industry (1974-83) Secretary of State for Trade (1974-83) Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection (1974-79) Secretary of State for Energy (1974-92)
1976 Secretary of State for the Environment (1970-97) Secretary of State for Transport (1976-9)
1979
1981 Secretary of State for Transport (1981-97)
1983
1988 Secretary of State for Health (1988-2018) Secretary of State for Social Security (1988-2001)
1992 Secretary of State for Education (1992-95) Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1983-2007)
1995 Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1995-2001)
1997 Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1997-2001)
2001 Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2001-present) Secretary of State for Education and Skills (2001-07) Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2001-present) Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (2001-02)
2002 Secretary of State for Transport (2002-present)
2006 Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (2006-18)
2007 Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (2007-10) Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (2007-09) Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (2007-09)
2008 Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (2008-16)
2009 Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (2009-16)
2010
2016 Secretary of State for Education (2010-present) Secretary of State for International Trade (2016-present) Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (2016-present)
2018 Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (2018-present) Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (2018-present)

Key:

Secretary of Stateship primarily relating to health
Secretary of Stateship primarily relating to work and benefits
Secretary of Stateship primarily relating to education
Secretary of Stateship primarily relating to business
Secretary of Stateship primarily relating to energy
Secretary of Stateship primarily relating to the regions
Secretary of Stateship primarily relating to transport
Secretary of Stateship covering more than one of these areas
Secretary of Stateship currently in use

Culture

The Secretary of Stateships that have been used for culture, heritage and sport are as follows:

References

  1. ^ "Government ministers". Institute for Government. Retrieved 2021. What are the different types of minister? The most senior government ministers, except the prime minister, are secretaries of state.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Brazier, Rodney (1997). Ministers of the Crown. Oxford: Clarendon. pp. 9-10. ISBN 0-19-825988-3. OCLC 37301571.
  3. ^ a b c d "Ministers". gov.uk. Retrieved 2021.
  4. ^ "Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975, Schedule 1, Part V, Paragraph 2". legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 2021. In the case of the following offices a salary may be paid to more than one holder of the office at the same time, subject to the limitations expressed below, that is to say-- (a) Secretary of State, so long as not more than 21 salaries are paid at the same time in accordance with Part I above;
  5. ^ "Draft Cabinet Manual" (PDF). Cabinet Office. 14 December 2010. p. 42. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ Ministry of Justice (October 2009). "The Governance of Britain: Review of the Executive Royal Prerogative Powers: Final Report" (PDF). p. 33. Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Pickrill, DA (1981). Ministers of the Crown. Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 0-7100-0916-X.
  8. ^ a b Sainty, J. C. (1973). "Introduction". Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 2 - Officials of the Secretaries of State 1660-1782. British History Online. University of London. pp. 1-21. At the Restoration [in 1660] the practice of appointing two Secretaries of State, which was well established before the Civil War, was resumed. Apart from the modifications which were made necessary by the occasional existence of a third secretaryship, the organisation of the secretariat underwent no fundamental change from that time until the reforms of 1782 which resulted in the emergence of the Home and Foreign departments. ... English domestic affairs remained the responsibility of both Secretaries throughout the period. In the field of foreign affairs there was a division into a Northern and a Southern Department, each of which was the responsibility of one Secretary. The distinction between the two departments emerged only gradually. It was not until after 1689 that their names passed into general currency. Nevertheless the division of foreign business itself can, in its broad outlines, be detected in the early years of the reign of Charles II.
  9. ^ Torrance, David (19 June 2019). "Introduction to devolution in the UK". House of Commons Library. p. 12. Retrieved 2021.
  10. ^ a b Defence (Transfer of Functions) Act 1964.
  11. ^ Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972.
  12. ^ The Secretary of State for Transport Order 1976.
  13. ^ a b The Transfer of Functions (Transport, Local Government and the Regions) Order 2002.
  14. ^ The Secretaries of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Order 2001.
  15. ^ The Secretaries of State for Education and Skills and for Work and Pensions Order 2002.
  16. ^ Brazier, Rodney (2020). Choosing a Prime Minister : The Transfer of Power in Britain. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-19-260307-4. OCLC 1182632161.
  17. ^ The Secretary of State for Justice Order 2007.
  18. ^ The Secretary of State for Education Order 2010.
  19. ^ a b The Secretaries of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for International Trade and for Exiting the European Union and the Transfer of Functions (Education and Skills) Order 2016.
  20. ^ The Transfer of Functions (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) Order 2017.
  21. ^ a b The Secretaries of State for Health and Social Care and for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Transfer of Functions (Commonhold Land) Order 2018.
  22. ^ a b The Transfer of Functions (Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs) Order 2020.
  23. ^ The Secretaries of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for International Trade and for Exiting the European Union and the Transfer of Functions (Education and Skills) Order 2016.
  24. ^ Duffy, Nick (1 February 2020). "Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay exits cabinet as Boris Johnson shutters department". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 2021.

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