Secretary of State
for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
|Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office|
The Right Honourable
(UK and Commonwealth)
|Status||Great Office of State|
National Security Council (NSC)
|Reports to||The Prime Minister|
|Residence||No. 1 Carlton Gardens|
on advice of the Prime Minister
|Term length||At Her Majesty's pleasure|
|Formation||27 March 1782|
|First holder||Charles James Fox|
The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, commonly known as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior Minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Foreign Secretary is a senior member of the British Cabinet.
Corresponding to what is generally known as a foreign minister in many other countries, the Foreign Secretary's remit includes:
- British relations with foreign countries and governments
- Promotion of British interests abroad.
- Matters pertaining to the Commonwealth of Nations and the Overseas Territories
- Oversight for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
The official residence of the Foreign Secretary is 1 Carlton Gardens, in London. They also have the use of Chevening House, a country house in Kent, South East England. The Foreign Secretary works out of the Foreign Office in Whitehall.
The position of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was created in the British governmental reorganisation of 1782, in which the Northern and Southern Departments became the Foreign Office and Home Office respectively. Eventually, the position of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs came into existence in 1968 with the merger of the functions of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs into a single Department of State. The India Office was a constituent predecessor department of the Foreign Office, as were the Colonial Office and the Dominions Office. Margaret Beckett, appointed in 2006 by Tony Blair, is the only woman to have held the post. The post of Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs was created in 2020 when position holder Dominic Raab absorbed the responsibilities of the Secretary of State for International Development.
List of Foreign Secretaries
Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs (1782–1968)
- ^† Died in office.
- The Prince of Wales served as Prince Regent from 5 February 1811.
- Elevated to the Peerage of the United Kingdom in November 1803.
- Elected to a new constituency in the 1807 general election.
- Elected to a new constituency in the 1950 general election.
- Walker was the MP for Smethwick and Labour's shadow Foreign Secretary, prior to the 1964 general election. He lost his seat in the election but was appointed to the post anyway. He resigned after fighting and losing a 1965 by-election in Leyton.
Secretaries of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1968–2020)
Secretaries of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs (2020–present)
|Term of office||Party||Ministry||Sovereign
|The Right Honourable
MP for Esher and Walton
|Incumbent||Conservative||Johnson II||Elizabeth II
- Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
- Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
- Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs
- Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations
- Secretary of State for the Colonies
- Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
- Foreign minister
- Great Offices of State
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- "Ministerial responsibility". GCHQ. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
Day-to-day ministerial responsibility for GCHQ lies with the Foreign Secretary.
- "Past Foreign Secretaries". gov.uk. Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
- Including honorifics and constituencies for elected MPs.
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- Hughes, Michael. British Foreign Secretaries in an Uncertain World, 1919–1939. (Routledge, 2004).
- Johnson, Gaynor. "Introduction: The Foreign Office and British Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century," Contemporary British History, (2004) 18:3, 1–12, DOI: 10.1080/1361946042000259279
- Neilson, Keith, and Thomas G. Otte. The permanent under-secretary for foreign affairs, 1854–1946 (Routledge, 2008).
- Otte, Thomas G. The Foreign Office Mind: The Making of British Foreign Policy, 1865–1914 (Cambridge UP, 2011).
- Steiner, Zara. The Foreign Office and Foreign Policy, 1898–1914 (1986).
- Temperley, Harold. "British Secret Diplomacy from Canning to Grey." Cambridge Historical Journal 6.1 (1938): 1–32.
- Theakston, Kevin, ed. British foreign secretaries since 1974 (Routledge, 2004).
- Wilson, Keith M., ed. British foreign secretaries and foreign policy: from Crimean War to First World War (1987).
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