Secretary of State for Scotland
|Secretary of State for Scotland|
|Style||The Right Honourable|
|Inaugural holder||The Earl of Mar|
|Formation||1 May 1707|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Rùnaire Stàite na h-Alba, Scots: Secretar o State for Scotland) is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland representing Scotland. They head the Scotland Office (formerly the Scottish Office), a government department based in London and Edinburgh.
- 1 Post history
- 2 Secretaries of State for Scotland 1707–1746
- 3 Secretaries and Secretaries of State for Scotland
- 4 Responsibilities
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Prior to devolution (pre–1999)
The post was first created after the Acts of Union 1707 created the Kingdom of Great Britain from the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. It was abolished in 1746, following the Jacobite rising of 1745. Scottish affairs thereafter were managed by the Lord Advocate until 1827, when responsibility passed to the Home Office. In 1885 the post of Secretary for Scotland was re-created, with the incumbent usually a member of the Cabinet. In 1926 this post was upgraded to a full Secretary of State appointment.
Post devolution (1999–present)
After the 1999 Scottish devolution, the powers of the Scotland Office were divided, with most transferred to the Scottish Government or to other British government departments, leaving only a limited role for the Scotland Office. Consequently, the role of Secretary of State for Scotland has been diminished. A recent Scottish Secretary, Des Browne, held the post whilst simultaneously being Secretary of State for Defence.
The current Secretary of State for Scotland is David Mundell.
Secretaries of State for Scotland 1707–1746
- John Erskine, 22nd Earl of Mar had served as Secretary of State of the independent Scotland from 1705. Following the Acts of Union 1707, he remained in office.
The post of Secretary of State for Scotland existed after the Union of the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England in 1707 till the Jacobite rising of 1745. After the rising, responsibility for Scotland lay primarily with the office of the Home Secretary, usually exercised by the Lord Advocate.
|Name||Portrait||Term of office|
|The Earl of Mar||(since 1705)
1 May 1707
|3 February 1709|
|The Duke of Queensberry||3 February 1709||6 July 1711
|The Earl of Mar||30 September 1713||24 September 1714|
|The Duke of Montrose||24 September 1714||August 1715
|The Duke of Roxburghe||13 December 1716||August 1725
|Office thereafter vacant.
One reference book[which?] claims that Charles Douglas, 2nd Earl of Selkirk
held this office from 1731, but there is no other authority for this claim.
|The Marquess of Tweeddale||16 February 1742||3 January 1746
Office thereafter vacant.
Secretaries and Secretaries of State for Scotland
The Secretary for Scotland was chief minister in charge of the Scottish Office in the United Kingdom government. The Scotland Office was created in 1885 with the post of Secretary for Scotland. From 1892 the Secretary for Scotland sat in cabinet. The post was upgraded to full Secretary of State rank as the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1926.
From 1885 to 1999, Secretaries for Scotland and Secretaries of State for Scotland also ex officio held the post of Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. From 1999, the position of Keeper of the Great Seal has been held by the First Minister of Scotland.
From June 2003 and October 2008, the holder of the office of Secretary of State for Scotland from 13 June 2003 through to 3 October 2008 also held another Cabinet post concurrently, leading to claims that the Scottish role was seen as a part-time ministry.
With the advent of legislative devolution for Scotland in 1999, the role of Secretary of State for Scotland has been diminished, most of the functions vested in the office since administrative devolution in the 19th century were transferred to the newly established Scottish Ministers upon the opening of the Scottish Parliament or otherwise to other UK government ministers.
As a result of this, the office mainly acts as a go-between for the UK and Scottish Governments and Parliaments, however, due to being a minister in the British government the convention of Cabinet collective responsibility applies and as such the post is usually viewed as being a partisan one to promote the UK government's decision making in Scotland, as adherence to the convention precludes doing anything else.
With the rise of the SNP in the Scottish and British parliaments and the resultant interest in Scottish Independence, the Secretary of states role has also subsequently increased in prominence. The Scotland office itself has received a cumulative increase in budget of 20% from 2013 to 2017 with a 14.4% increase in 2015/16 alone. These increases are doubly notable as they took place in a time of national austerity where most other government departments were being cut but also due to the fact that the bulk of the increases came after the Scottish Independence referendum of 2014.
The UK governments website lists the Secretary of State for Scotlands responsibilities as being:
"The main role of the Scottish Secretary is to promote and protect the devolution settlement. Other responsibilities include promoting partnership between the UK government and the Scottish government, and relations between the 2 Parliaments."
- First Minister of Scotland
- Secretary of State, a senior post in the pre-Union government of the Kingdom of Scotland
- Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, junior minister supporting the Secretary of State for Scotland
- Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
- Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
- Secretary of State for Wales
- Secretary for Scotland Act 1885, section 2.
- Secretaries of State Act 1926
- Secretary for Scotland Act 1885, section 2; Secretaries of State Act 1926, section 1
- Scotland Act 1998, section 45(7)
- "Secretary of State for Scotland - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
- "SNP questions budget of 'zombie department' Scotland Office". STV News. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
- "BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Scrap Scotland Office, SNP urging". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-01-16.