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First Secretary of State
|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|
|Politics of the United Kingdom|
|United Kingdom portal|
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.
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.
Boris Johnson appointed the incumbent Dominic Raab to the title on 24 July 2019. When Johnson was moved to the Intensive Care Unit on the 6 April 2020 after contracting COVID-19, Raab was asked "...to deputise for him where necessary."
- 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 the 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
|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)
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