Secretary of State for Wales
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|Secretary of State for Wales|
Royal Badge of Wales (Red Dragon version)
|Style||The Right Honourable|
|Formation||18 October 1964|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the United Kingdom
The Secretary of State for Wales (Welsh: Ysgrifennydd Gwladol Cymru) is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Wales. They are a member the cabinet and the head of the Wales Office. They are responsible for ensuring Welsh interests are taken into account by the government, representing the government within Wales and overseeing the passing of legislation which is only for Wales. The current Secretary of State for Wales is David Jones MP.
In the first half of the 20th century, a number of politicians had supported the creation of the post of Secretary of State for Wales as a step towards Home Rule for Wales. A post of Minister of Welsh Affairs was created in 1951 under the Home Secretary and was upgraded to Minister of State level in 1954.
The Labour Party proposed the creation of a Welsh Office run by a Secretary of State for Wales in their manifesto for the 1959 general election and once they came to power in 1964 this could be put into effect.
The post of Secretary of State for Wales came into existence on 17 October 1964, the first incumbent being Jim Griffiths, MP for Llanelli. The position entailed responsibility for Wales and expenditure on certain public services was delegated from Westminster. In April 1965 administration of Welsh affairs, which had previously been divided between a number of government departments were united in a newly created Welsh Office with the Secretary of State for Wales at its head. As a result the Welsh Secretary came to have responsibility for education and training, health, trade and industry, environment, transport and agriculture within Wales.
During the 1980s and 1990s, as the number of Conservative MPs for Welsh constituencies dwindled almost to nothing, the office fell into disrepute. Nicholas Edwards, MP for Pembrokeshire, held the post for some years, but was constantly mocked for his upper-class appearance and accent. On his departure, the government ceased to look within Wales for the Secretary of State, and the post was increasingly used as a way of getting junior high-fliers into the Cabinet. John Redwood in particular caused embarrassment to the government when he publicly demonstrated an inability to sing (or even successfully mime) "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau", the Welsh national anthem.
The introduction of the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government following the devolution referendum of 1997 was the beginning of a new era. On 1 July 1999 the majority of the functions of the Welsh Office transferred to the new assembly. The Welsh Office was disbanded but the post of Secretary of State for Wales was retained, as the head of the newly created Wales Office.
Since 1999 there have been calls for the office of Welsh Secretary to be scrapped or merged with the posts of Secretary of State for Scotland and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland due to the lesser powers of the role since devolution.
Ministers and Secretaries of State
Ministers of Welsh Affairs (1951–1964)
|Name||Term of office||Political party||Prime Minister||Notes|
|Sir David Maxwell Fyfe||28 October 1951||18 October 1954||Conservative||Sir Winston Churchill||First Minister of Welsh Affairs, combined with Home Secretary|
|Gwilym Lloyd George||18 October 1954||13 January 1957||Liberal & Conservative||Minister of Welsh Affairs, combined with Home Secretary|
|Sir Anthony Eden|
|Henry Brooke||13 January 1957||9 October 1961||Conservative||Harold Macmillan||Minister of Welsh Affairs, combined with Minister of Housing and Local Government|
|Charles Hill||9 October 1961||13 July 1962||National Liberal||Minister of Welsh Affairs, combined with Minister of Housing and Local Government|
|Sir Keith Joseph||13 July 1962||16 October 1964||Conservative||Minister of Welsh Affairs, combined with Minister of Housing and Local Government|
|Sir Alec Douglas-Home|
Secretaries of State for Wales (1964–present)
|Name||Term of office||Political party||Prime Minister||Notes|
|Jim Griffiths||18 October 1964||5 April 1966||Labour||Harold Wilson||First Secretary of State for Wales|
|Cledwyn Hughes||5 April 1966||5 April 1968||Labour|
|George Thomas||5 April 1968||20 June 1970||Labour|
|Peter Thomas||20 June 1970||5 March 1974||Conservative||Edward Heath||First Secretary of State for Wales representing an English constituency|
|John Morris||5 March 1974||5 May 1979||Labour||Harold Wilson|
|Nicholas Edwards||5 May 1979||13 June 1987||Conservative||Margaret Thatcher|
|Peter Walker||13 June 1987||4 May 1990||Conservative||Born in England, represented English constituency|
|David Hunt||4 May 1990||27 May 1993||Conservative||John Major||Born in Glyn Ceiriog, North Wales. Represented English constituency|
|John Redwood||27 May 1993||26 June 1995||Conservative||Born in England, represented English constituency, resigned to stand for the leadership of the Conservative party.|
|David Hunt||26 June 1995||5 July 1995||Conservative||Acting Secretary of State during the 1995 Conservative leadership contest|
|William Hague||5 July 1995||3 May 1997||Conservative||Born in England, represented English constituency|
|Ron Davies||3 May 1997||27 October 1998||Labour||Tony Blair||Resigned following a "moment of madness" on Clapham Common.|
|Alun Michael||27 October 1998||28 July 1999||Labour||Government of Wales Act 1998; inaugural First Secretary for Wales from 12 May 1999.|
|Paul Murphy||28 July 1999||24 October 2002||Labour|
|Peter Hain||24 October 2002||24 January 2008||Labour||Born in Kenya
Leader of the House of Commons, 2003–2005
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, 2005–2007
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, 2007–2008
|Paul Murphy||24 January 2008||5 June 2009||Labour|
|Peter Hain||5 June 2009||11 May 2010||Labour|
|Cheryl Gillan||11 May 2010||4 September 2012||Conservative||David Cameron
|First Female office holder.|
|David Jones||4 September 2012||Incumbent||Conservative||First Conservative Welsh Secretary to represent a Welsh constituency since Nicholas Edwards (1979–87).|
- Current duties of the Secretary of State for Wales
- List of Secretaries of State for Wales
- Labour Party in Wales – covers the history of the post
- Hain promoted in Brown's cabinet, BBC News Online, 28 June 2007
- Hain takes work and pensions job, BBC News Online, 28 June 2007