First Secretary of State

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First Secretary of State
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
William Hague 2010.jpg
William Hague

since 12 May 2010
Style The Right Honourable
Appointer Elizabeth II
Inaugural holder R. A. Butler
Formation 13 July 1962
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
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First Secretary of State is an honorific title occasionally used within the Government of the United Kingdom. The title, which implies seniority over all other Secretaries of State, has no specific powers or authority attached to it beyond that of any other Secretary of State.

The role is not always in use, and there have been lengthy periods between successive holders of the title.

Current position[edit]

The current First Secretary of State is William Hague, who first received the title in addition to that of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs upon his appointment by Prime Minister David Cameron on 12 May 2010.[1] Since 2010, the title has been used for the first time while the title of Deputy Prime Minister is held by a different cabinet member, currently Nick Clegg. On the 14th of July 2014 it was announced that he would step down as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs but continue his role as First Secretary of State; he remained in the cabinet as Leader of the House of Commons.

List of First Secretaries of State[edit]

Colour key
(for political parties)
Name Picture Term of Office Political party and position Other Ministerial Offices Prime Minister
R. A. Butler RA Butler 1937.jpg 13 July 1962 18 October 1963 Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Office not in use 1963–1964 Alec Douglas-Home
George Brown George Brown, 1967.jpg 16 October 1964 11 August 1966 Labour (Deputy Leader) Economic Secretary Harold Wilson
Michael Stewart Michael Stewart.jpg 11 August 1966 6 April 1968 Labour Economic Secretary
(until August 1967)
Foreign Secretary
(from March 1968)
Barbara Castle Barbara Castle 27.jpg 6 April 1968 19 June 1970 Labour Employment and Productivity Secretary
Office not in use 1970–1995 Edward Heath
Harold Wilson
James Callaghan
Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Michael Heseltine Lord Heseltine2.jpg 20 July 1995 2 May 1997 Conservative Deputy Prime Minister
Office not in use 1997–2001 Tony Blair
John Prescott John Prescott on his last day as Deputy Prime Minister, June 2007.jpg 8 June 2001 27 June 2007 Labour (Deputy Leader) Deputy Prime Minister
(from May 1997)
Office not in use 2007–2009 Gordon Brown
The Lord Mandelson Peter Mandelson at Politics of Climate Change 3.jpg 5 June 2009 11 May 2010 Labour Business Secretary
Lord President of the Council
William Hague William Hague 2010 cropped.jpg 12 May 2010 Incumbent Conservative Foreign Secretary
(until July 2014)
Leader of the House of Commons
(from July 2014)
David Cameron

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Number 10 website"Her Majesty’s Government", Thursday 13 May 2010 (accessed May 2010)