First Secretary of State

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First Secretary of State
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
George osborne hi.jpg
George Osborne

since 8 May 2015
Style The Right Honourable
Appointer Elizabeth II
Inaugural holder R. A. Butler
Formation 13 July 1962
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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,[1] has no specific powers or authority attached to it beyond that of any other Secretary of State.

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

Current holder[edit]

The current First Secretary of State is George Osborne, who first received the title from Prime Minister David Cameron in addition to his reappointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer[2] immediately following the 2015 General Election.

List of First Secretaries of State[edit]

Colour key
(for political parties)
Name Picture Term of Office Political party
(Party position)
Other Ministerial Offices Prime Minister
R. A. Butler[3] 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 8 May 2015 Conservative Foreign Secretary
(until July 2014)
Leader of the House of Commons
(from July 2014)
David Cameron
George Osborne George osborne hi.jpg 8 May 2015 Incumbent Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer David Cameron

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nicholas Watt (8 May 2015). "George Osborne made first secretary of state in cabinet reshuffle". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "First Secretary of State". 
  3. ^ Howard, Anthony (February 7, 2013). "RAB: The Life of R.A. Butler". A&C Black.