Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

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"Foreign Secretary" redirects here. For equivalent positions in other countries, see Foreign minister.
United Kingdom
Secretary of State for
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence.jpg
Incumbent
The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP

since 14 July 2014
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Style The Right Honourable
Member of British Cabinet
Reports to The Prime Minister
Appointer Elizabeth II
Inaugural holder Charles James Fox
Formation 27 March 1782
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State. The Secretary of State's remit includes: relations with foreign countries, matters pertaining to the Commonwealth of Nations and the overseas territories in addition to the promotion of British interests abroad.[1]

The Foreign Secretary also has responsibility for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which are directly accountable to this person.

Position[edit]

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 Home and Foreign Offices, respectively. 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 predecessor department of the Foreign Office.

The Foreign Secretary is a member of the Cabinet, and the post is considered one of the Great Offices of State. The Foreign Secretary works out of the Foreign Office in Whitehall. The post's official residences are 1 Carlton Gardens in London and Chevening in Kent. In the 2006 reshuffle, Margaret Beckett became the first (and only) woman to hold the post.

The current Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs is The Right Honourable Philip Hammond MP.

List of Foreign Secretaries[edit]

Colour key
(for political parties)

Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs, 1782–1801[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Charles James Fox Charles James Fox00.jpg 27 March 1782 5 July 1782
(resigned)
Whig The Marquess of Rockingham
The Lord Grantham Thomas Robinson, 2nd Ld Grantham.JPG 13 July 1782 2 April 1783 Whig The Earl of Shelburne
Charles James Fox Charles James Fox00.jpg 2 April 1783 19 December 1783 Whig The Duke of Portland
(Fox-North Coalition)
The Earl Temple 1stMarquessOfBuckingham.jpg 19 December 1783 23 December 1783 Tory William Pitt the Younger
Marquess of Carmarthen
(Duke of Leeds from 1789)
Francis Osborne cropped.jpg 23 December 1783 May 1791
(resigned)
Tory
The Lord Grenville William Wyndham Grenville.jpg 8 June 1791 20 February 1801 Tory

Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs, 1801–1900[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
The Lord Hawkesbury
(subsequently
Earl of Liverpool)
Earl jenkinson.jpg 20 February 1801 14 May 1804 Tory Henry Addington
The Lord Harrowby 1stEarlOfHarrowby.jpg 14 May 1804 11 January 1805 Tory William Pitt the Younger
The Lord Mulgrave Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave by Sir William Beechey.jpg 11 January 1805 7 February 1806 Tory
Charles James Fox Charles James Fox00.jpg 7 February 1806 13 September 1806
(died)
Whig The Lord Grenville
(Ministry of All the Talents)
Viscount Howick
(subsequently
Earl Grey)
Charlesgrey2.jpg 24 September 1806 25 March 1807 Whig
George Canning George Canning by Richard Evans - detail.jpg 25 March 1807 11 October 1809
(resigned)
Tory The Duke of Portland
The Earl Bathurst Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst by William Salter.jpg 11 October 1809 6 December 1809 Tory
The Marquess Wellesley Richard Colley Wellesley, Marquess Wellesley by John Philip Davis ('Pope' Davis).jpg 6 December 1809 4 March 1812 Spencer Perceval
Viscount Castlereagh Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh.PNG 4 March 1812 12 August 1822
(died)
Tory The Earl of Liverpool
George Canning George Canning by Richard Evans - detail.jpg 16 September 1822 30 April 1827 Tory
The Earl of Dudley 1stEarlOfDudley.jpg 30 April 1827 2 June 1828 Tory George Canning
The Viscount Goderich
The Earl of Aberdeen Earlofaberdeen.jpg 2 June 1828 22 November 1830 Tory The Duke of Wellington
The Viscount Palmerston Lord Palmerston 1855.jpg 22 November 1830 14 November 1834 Whig The Earl Grey
The Viscount Melbourne
The Duke of Wellington Sir Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington.jpg 14 November 1834 18 April 1835 Tory The Duke of Wellington
Sir Robert Peel
The Viscount Palmerston Lord Palmerston 1855.jpg 18 April 1835 2 September 1841 Whig The Viscount Melbourne
The Earl of Aberdeen Earlofaberdeen.jpg 2 September 1841 6 July 1846 Conservative Sir Robert Peel
The Viscount Palmerston Lord Palmerston 1855.jpg 6 July 1846 26 December 1851 Whig Lord John Russell
The Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg 26 December 1851 27 February 1852 Whig
The Earl of Malmesbury 3rd Earl of Malmesbury.jpg 27 February 1852 28 December 1852 Conservative The 14th Earl of Derby
Lord John Russell Lord john russell.jpg 28 December 1852 21 February 1853 Whig The Earl of Aberdeen
(Coalition)
The Earl of Clarendon 4thEarlOfClarendon.jpg 21 February 1853 26 February 1858 Whig
The Viscount Palmerston
The Earl of Malmesbury 3rd Earl of Malmesbury.jpg 26 February 1858 18 June 1859 Conservative The 14th Earl of Derby
Lord John Russell
(Earl Russell from 1861)
Lord john russell.jpg 18 June 1859 3 November 1865 Liberal The Viscount Palmerston
The Earl of Clarendon 4thEarlOfClarendon.jpg 3 November 1865 6 July 1866 Liberal The Earl Russell
Lord Stanley
(subsequently
15th Earl of Derby)
Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby 2.jpg 6 July 1866 9 December 1868 Conservative The 14th Earl of Derby
Benjamin Disraeli
The Earl of Clarendon 4thEarlOfClarendon.jpg 9 December 1868 6 July 1870 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
The Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg 6 July 1870 21 February 1874 Liberal
The 15th Earl of Derby Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby 2.jpg 21 February 1874 2 April 1878 Conservative Benjamin Disraeli
The Marquess of Salisbury Robert cecil.jpg 2 April 1878 28 April 1880 Conservative
The Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg 28 April 1880 24 June 1885 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
The Marquess of Salisbury Robert cecil.jpg 24 June 1885 6 February 1886 Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury
The Earl of Rosebery Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery - 1890s.jpg 6 February 1886 3 August 1886 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
The Earl of Iddesleigh Стаффорд Генри Норткот.jpg 3 August 1886 12 January 1887
(died)
Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury
The Marquess of Salisbury Robert cecil.jpg 14 January 1887 11 August 1892 Conservative
The Earl of Rosebery Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery - 1890s.jpg 18 August 1892 11 March 1894 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
The Earl of Kimberley 1st Earl of Kimberley 1897.jpg 11 March 1894 21 June 1895 Liberal The Earl of Rosebery
The Marquess of Salisbury Robert cecil.jpg 29 June 1895 12 November 1900 Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury
(Unionist Coalition)

Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs, 1900–1968[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
The Marquess of Lansdowne Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne - Project Gutenberg eText 16528.jpg 12 November 1900 4 December 1905 Liberal Unionist The Marquess of Salisbury
(Unionist Coalition)
Arthur Balfour
(Unionist Coalition)
Sir Edward Grey, Bt Picture of Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon.jpg 10 December 1905 10 December 1916 Liberal Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
H. H. Asquith
(Coalition from 1915)
Arthur Balfour Arthur Balfour, photo portrait facing left.jpg 10 December 1916 23 October 1919 Conservative David Lloyd George
(Coalition)
The Earl Curzon
(Marquess Curzon from 1921)
Curzon GGBain.jpg 23 October 1919 22 January 1924 Conservative
Andrew Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Ramsay MacDonald Ramsay MacDonald ggbain 35734.jpg 22 January 1924 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Sir Austen Chamberlain Austen Chamberlain nobel.jpg 6 November 1924 4 June 1929 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
Arthur Henderson Arthurhenderson.jpg 7 June 1929 24 August 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
The Marquess of Reading Rufus Isaacs.jpg 25 August 1931 5 November 1931 Liberal Ramsay MacDonald
(1st National Min.)
Sir John Simon Portrait of John Simon, 1st Viscount Simon.jpg 5 November 1931 7 June 1935 Liberal National Ramsay MacDonald
(2nd National Min.)
Sir Samuel Hoare, Bt Sir Samuel Hoare GGBain.jpg 7 June 1935 18 December 1935
(resigned)
Conservative Stanley Baldwin
(3rd National Min.)
Anthony Eden British Political Personalities 1936-1945 HU49409.jpg 22 December 1935 20 February 1938
(resigned)
Conservative
Neville Chamberlain
(4th National Min.;
War Coalition)
The Viscount Halifax Lord Halifax 1937.jpg 21 February 1938 22 December 1940 Conservative
Anthony Eden British Political Personalities 1936-1945 HU49409.jpg 22 December 1940 26 July 1945 Conservative Winston Churchill
(War Coalition)
Ernest Bevin Ernest Bevin HU 81497.jpg 27 July 1945 9 March 1951 Labour Clement Attlee
Herbert Morrison HerbertMorrison2.jpg 9 March 1951 26 October 1951 Labour
Anthony Eden British Political Personalities 1936-1945 HU49409.jpg 28 October 1951 7 April 1955 Conservative Sir Winston Churchill
Harold Macmillan Harold Macmillan number 10 official.jpg 7 April 1955 20 December 1955 Conservative Sir Anthony Eden
Selwyn Lloyd Selwyn Lloyd cropped.jpg 20 December 1955 27 July 1960 Conservative
Harold Macmillan
The Earl of Home
(later Sir Alec Douglas-Home)
Alec Douglas-Home (c1963).jpg 27 July 1960 20 October 1963 Conservative
R. A. Butler RA Butler 1937.jpg 20 October 1963 16 October 1964 Conservative Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Patrick Gordon Walker No image.svg 16 October 1964 22 January 1965
(lost seat 1964)
Labour Harold Wilson
Michael Stewart Michael Stewart.jpg 22 January 1965 11 August 1966 Labour
George Brown George Brown, 1967.jpg 11 August 1966 16 March 1968
(resigned)
Labour
Michael Stewart Michael Stewart.jpg 16 March 1968 17 October 1968 Labour

Secretaries of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, 1968–present[edit]

Post created through the merger of the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Michael Stewart Michael Stewart.jpg 17 October 1968 19 June 1970 Labour Harold Wilson
Sir Alec Douglas-Home Alec Douglas-Home (c1963).jpg 20 June 1970 28 February 1974 Conservative Edward Heath
James Callaghan James Callaghan.JPG 5 March 1974 5 April 1976 Labour Harold Wilson
Anthony Crosland No image.svg 8 April 1976 19 February 1977
(died)
Labour James Callaghan
David Owen David Owen-1.jpg 22 February 1977 4 May 1979 Labour
The Lord Carrington Peter, 6th Baron Carrington cropped.JPG 5 May 1979 5 April 1982
(resigned)
Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Francis Pym Zconcam61.jpg 6 April 1982 11 June 1983 Conservative
Sir Geoffrey Howe Geoffrey Howe.jpg 11 June 1983 24 July 1989 Conservative
John Major John Major 1996.jpg 24 July 1989 26 October 1989 Conservative
Douglas Hurd Lord Hurd (cropped).jpg 26 October 1989 5 July 1995 Conservative
John Major
Malcolm Rifkind Malcolm Rifkind.jpg 5 July 1995 2 May 1997 Conservative
Robin Cook Robin Cook-close crop.jpg 2 May 1997 8 June 2001 Labour Tony Blair
Jack Straw Jack Straw 2.jpg 8 June 2001 5 May 2006 Labour
Margaret Beckett Margaret Beckett May 2007.jpg 5 May 2006 28 June 2007 Labour
David Miliband David Miliband 2.jpg 28 June 2007 11 May 2010 Labour Gordon Brown
William Hague William Hague 2010 cropped.jpg 11 May 2010 14 July 2014 Conservative David Cameron
(Coalition)
Philip Hammond Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence.jpg 14 July 2014 Incumbent Conservative

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]