|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)|
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 and can be seen as an alternative office to Deputy Prime Minister. 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 to 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.
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.
List of First Secretaries of State
|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)
- 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
- Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs until September 2020
- Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs from September 2020
- "The Cabinet Manual" (PDF). gov.uk. 2010. 3.12. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
- Nicholas Watt (8 May 2015). "George Osborne made first secretary of state in cabinet reshuffle". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "Dominic Raab appointed UK foreign secretary, first secretary of state: statement". Reuters. London. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
- Norton, Philip (2020). Governing Britain: Parliament, Ministers and Our Ambiguous Constitution. Manchester University Press. p. 152. ISBN 9-781526-145451.
- "Statement from Downing Street: 6 April 2020". gov.uk. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
- The Transfer of Functions (Transport, Local Government and the Regions) Order 2002, art 3(1).
- The Transfer of Functions (Miscellaneous) Order 2008, art 7
- Norton, Philip (2020). Governing Britain: Parliament, Ministers and Our Ambiguous Constitution. Manchester University Press. pp. 149–50. ISBN 9-781526-145451.
- Brazier, Rodney (2020). Choosing a Prime Minister: The Transfer of Power in Britain. Oxford University Press. pp. 74–5. ISBN 978-0-19-260307-4.
- Brazier, Rodney (2020). Choosing a Prime Minister: The Transfer of Power in Britain. Oxford University Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-19-260307-4.
- Brazier, Rodney (2020). Choosing a Prime Minister: The Transfer of Power in Britain. Oxford University Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-19-260307-4.
- "First Secretary of State". gov.uk. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
- Howard, Anthony (February 7, 2013). RAB: The Life of R.A. Butler. A&C Black. ISBN 9781448210824.
- 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.