Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister

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Principal Private Secretary
to the Prime Minister
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Royal Arms as used by Her Majesty's Government
Peter Hill

since 10 May 2017
Prime Minister's Office
AppointerPrime Minister
Website10 Downing Street

The Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister is a senior official in the British Civil Service who acts as Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The holder of this office is traditionally the head of the Prime Minister's Office. In the Civil Service, the role is currently graded as a Director-General.

The current Principal Private Secretary is Peter Hill, who was appointed by Theresa May on 10 May 2017.[1]

Recent history[edit]

During Tony Blair's administration, he modified the law under which the Civil Service operated to create the role of Downing Street Chief of Staff, which though held by a political advisor outranked the Principal Private Secretary. When Gordon Brown ascended to office, he reversed the change to the Civil Service law. When David Cameron became Prime Minister, he promoted the then-PPS to a new post of "Permanent Secretary, Downing Street", a position which took over heading the Prime Minister's Office.[2] In 2012, the postholder, Jeremy Heywood, was appointed as Cabinet Secretary, this post ceased to exist, and the role of Civil Service head of the Office reverted to the Principal Private Secretary.

List of Principal Private Secretaries to the Prime Minister (from 1757, incomplete)[edit]

# Principal Private Secretary Years Prime Minister
1 Algernon West 1868–1872 William Ewart Gladstone
2 Arthur Godley 1880–1882
3 Edward Walter Hamilton CB 1882–1885
4 The Marquess of Granby 1885–1888
5 Capt the Hon Schomberg Kerr McDonnell CB 1888–1892 Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
6 Sir Algernon West KCB 1892–1894 William Ewart Gladstone
7 Capt the Hon Sir Schomberg Kerr McDonnell KCB CVO 1894–1902
8 John Satterfield Sandars CVO 1902–1905 Arthur Balfour
8A Arthur Ponsonby[3] 1905-1908 Henry Campbell-Bannerman
9 Vaughan Nash CB CVO 1908–1911 H. H. Asquith
10 Maurice Bonham-Carter 1911–1916 H. H. Asquith
11 Sir John Davies KCB CVO 1916–1922 David Lloyd George
12 Lt Col Sir Edward Grigg KCVO CMG DSO MC 1921–1922
13 Sir Patrick Gower KBE CB CVO 1922–1928
14 Lt Col Sir Ronald Waterhouse KCB CMG CVO 1922–1928
14A Robert Vansittart[4] 1928-1930
15 Alan Barlow CB CBE 1933–1934 Ramsay MacDonald
16 Osmund Cleverly CB CVO 1935–1939
17 Arthur Rucker CB CBE 1939–1940 Neville Chamberlain
18 Eric Seal CB 1940–1941 Winston Churchill
19 John Martin CB CVO 1941–1945
20 Leslie Rowan CB CVO 1945–1947 Clement Attlee
21 Laurence Helsby CB 1947–1950
22 Denis Rickett CB CMG 1950–1951
23 Jock Colville CB CVO 1951–1955 Winston Churchill
24 David Pitblado CB CVO 1951–1956
25 Frederick Bishop CVO 1956–1959
26 Derek Mitchell CVO 1964–1966 Harold Wilson
27 Lt Col Arthur Michael Halls MBE TD 1966–1970
28 Alexander Isserlis 1970
29 Robert Armstrong CB CVO 1970–1975
30 Kenneth Stowe CB 1975–1979
31 Clive Whitmore 1979–1982 Margaret Thatcher
32 Robin Butler 1982–1985
33 Nigel Wicks CBE 1985–1988
34 Andrew Turnbull CB CVO 1988–1992
35 The Hon Alex Allan 1992–1997 John Major
36 Sir John Holmes KBE CMG CVO 1997–1999 Tony Blair
37 Jeremy Heywood CB CVO 1999–2003
38 Ivan Rogers 2003–2006
39 Oliver Robbins 2006–2007
40 Tom Scholar 2007–2008 Gordon Brown
41 Sir Jeremy Heywood KCB CVO 2008–2010
42 James Bowler 2010–2011 David Cameron
43 Chris Martin CB CVO 2011–2015
44 Simon Case 2015–2017
45 Peter Hill 2017–present


  1. ^ "Peter Hill". Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Cabinet Office Structure Charts, May 2010" (PDF). Cabinet Office, HM Government. May 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 October 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  3. ^ British Political Facts 1900–1994, Butler & Butler 1994, P284
  4. ^ British Political Facts 1900–1994, Butler & Butler 1994, P284