First Secretary of State
|Government of the United Kingdom|
Office of the Prime Minister
|Style||The Right Honourable|
First Secretary of State (informal)
|Reports to||The Prime Minister|
|Residence||None, may use Grace and favour residences|
|Nominator||The Prime Minister|
|Appointer||The British Monarch|
on the advice of the Prime Minister
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Inaugural holder||Rab Butler|
|Formation||13 July 1962|
|Salary||£153,022 (annual, including £81,932 MP's salary)|
|This article is part of a series on|
|Politics of the United Kingdom|
First Secretary of State is an office sometimes given to a cabinet minister in the Government of the United Kingdom. The office indicates seniority, including over all other Secretaries of State and can be seen as a sort-of alternative office to Deputy Prime Minister.
The office is not always in use, so there have sometimes been extended gaps between successive holders. Boris Johnson appointed the incumbent Dominic Raab to the office on 24 July 2019.
The First Secretary enjoys no right to automatic succession to the office of Prime Minister. However, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to an Intensive Care Unit on 6 April 2020 after contracting COVID-19, First Secretary Dominic Raab was asked "to deputise for him where necessary."
The office temporarily enjoyed some greater constitutional footing between when it was incorporated as a corporate sole in 2002 and having all of its remaining functions transferred in 2008. During most of this time, John Prescott was the First Secretary.
In 1962, R. A. Butler was the first person to be appointed to the office, in part to avoid earlier royal objections to the office of Deputy Prime Minister. The office gave him ministerial superiority over the rest of the Cabinet.
Later, Michael Heseltine and John Prescott held the office alongside being Deputy Prime Minister. The two offices have only existed concurrently with different holders in David Cameron's coalition government, wherein Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg was appointed Deputy Prime Minister, while William Hague was First Secretary.
The office is currently, as of 14 January 2021, listed as bringing no additional responsibilities on the gov.uk website.
|Term of office||Other ministerial offices||Party||Ministry||Ref.|
|R. A. Butler
MP for Saffron Walden
|Office not in use||1963–1964|
MP for Belper
(I & II)
MP for Fulham
MP for Blackburn
|Office not in use||1970–1995|
MP for Henley
|Office not in use||1997–2001|
MP for Kingston upon Hull East
|Office not in use||2007–2009|
MP for Richmond (Yorks)
MP for Tatton
|Office not in use||2016–2017|
MP for Ashford
|Office not in use||2017–2019|
MP for Esher and Walton
(I & II)