Secretary of State For Scotland
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Secretary of State For Scotland

Her Majesty's Principal
Secretary of State for Scotland
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (Government in Scotland).svg
Royal Arms as used by Her Majesty's Government in Scotland
Official portrait of Mr Alister Jack.jpg
Incumbent
Alister Jack

since 24 July 2019
Scotland Office
StyleThe Right Honourable
AppointerElizabeth II
Inaugural holderThe Earl of Mar
Formation1926 (current form)
1 May 1707 (original form)
Deputy
vacant
as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
WebsiteScotland Office
Royal Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland.svg

politics and government of
Scotland
Flag of Scotland.svg Scotland portal

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Rùnaire Stàite na h-Alba, Scots: Secretar o State fir Scotland), also referred to as the Scottish Secretary, is the secretary of state and principal government minister for Scotland in the Cabinet of Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Scottish Secretary heads the Scotland Office (formerly the Scottish Office), a government department based in London and Edinburgh.

Post history

Prior to devolution (before 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.

After devolution (since 1999)

After the 1999 Scottish devolution, the powers of the Scottish 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. 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.

The current Secretary of State for Scotland is Alister Jack, who was appointed by Boris Johnson, replacing David Mundell.

Responsibilities

With the advent of legislative devolution for Scotland in 1999, the role of Secretary of State for Scotland was 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 to other UK government ministers. However the Secretary of State does represent Scotland in the Cabinet on matters that are not devolved to Holyrood and also holds Scotland Questions on the first Wednesday of every month between 11:30 am and 12 noon, when any Member of Parliament can ask a question on any matter relating to Scotland. However devolved issues are not usually raised by MPs. The Secretary is also the group leader of the Scottish MPs from the government party.

As a result of this, the office mainly acts as a go-between for the UK and Scottish Governments and Parliaments.[1] However, due to the Secretary's position as 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 Scottish National Party in the Scottish and British parliaments and the resultant interest in Scottish Independence, the Secretary of State's 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.[2]

The UK government's website lists the Secretary of State for Scotland's 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."[1]

This seeming lack of responsibility has in recent years seen calls from opposition MPs for the scrapping of the role and the Scotland Office.[3][2]

List of Scottish Secretaries

Secretaries of State for Scotland (1707-1746)

John Erskine, 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.

Secretary of State for Scotland
Portrait Name
(Birth-Death)
Term of office Length of term
John Erskine - Earl of Mar - Project Gutenberg etext 20946.jpg John Erskine
Earl of Mar

(1675-1732)
(since 1705)
1 May
1707
3 February
1709
1 year, 9 months and 2 days
2ndDukeOfQueensberryFull.jpg James Douglas
2nd Duke of Queensberry

(1662-1711)
3 February
1709
6 July
1711
2 years, 5 months and 3 days
John Erskine - Earl of Mar - Project Gutenberg etext 20946.jpg John Erskine
Earl of Mar

(1675-1732)
30 September
1713
24 September
1714
11 months and 25 days
James Graham 1682-1742.jpg James Graham
1st Duke of Montrose

(1682-1742)
24 September
1714
August
1715
Approx. 10 or 11 months
John Ker, 1st Duke of Roxburghe.jpg John Ker
1st Duke of Roxburghe

(1680-1741)
13 December
1716
August
1725
Approx. 8 years and 7 or 8 months
John Hay, 4th Marquess of Tweeddale.jpg John Hay
4th Marquess of Tweeddale

(1695-1762)
16 February
1742
3 January
1746
3 years, 10 months and 18 days

Office thereafter vacant.

Secretaries for Scotland (1885-1926)

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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] From 1999, the position of Keeper of the Great Seal has been held by the First Minister of Scotland.[7]

Secretary for Scotland
Portrait Name
(Birth-Death)
Term of office Length of term Party Ministry
Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, 6th Duke of Richmond, 6th Duke of Lennox, and 1st Duke of Gordon.jpg His Grace
Charles Gordon-Lennox
6th Duke of Richmond
KG PC
[nb 1]
(1818-1903)
17 August
1885
28 January
1886
5 months and 11 days Conservative Salisbury I
Sir G O Trevelyan, 2nd Bt NPG.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir George Trevelyan
Bt

MP for Hawick Burghs
(1838-1928)
8 February
1886
March
1886
Approx. 0 or 1 month Liberal Gladstone III
John Ramsay, 13th Earl of Dalhousie.jpeg The Right Honourable
John Ramsay
13th Earl of Dalhousie
KT PC

(1847-1887)
5 April
1886
20 July
1886
3 months and 15 days Liberal
Arthur-James-Balfour-1st-Earl-of-Balfour.jpg The Right Honourable
Arthur Balfour
DL

MP for Manchester East
(1848-1930)
5 August
1886
11 March
1887
7 months and 6 days Conservative Salisbury II
Lord Lotian.jpg The Most Honourable
Schomberg Kerr
9th Marquess of Lothian
KT PC FRSE

(1833-1900)
11 March
1887
11 August
1892
5 years and 5 months Conservative
Sir G O Trevelyan, 2nd Bt NPG.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir George Trevelyan
Bt

MP for Glasgow Bridgeton
(1838-1928)
18 August
1892
21 June
1895
2 years, 10 months and 3 days Liberal Gladstone IV
Rosebery
Lord Balfour .jpg The Right Honourable
Alexander Bruce
6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh
KT PC

(1849-1921)
29 June
1895
9 October
1903
8 years, 3 months and 10 days Conservative Salisbury
(III & IV)

(Con.-Lib.U.)
Balfour
(Con.-Lib.U.)
Lord Dunedin.jpg The Right Honourable
Andrew Murray
KC

MP for Buteshire
(1849-1942)
9 October
1903
2 February
1905
1 year, 3 months and 24 days Conservative
Hopetoun.jpg The Right Honourable
John Hope
1st Marquess of Linlithgow
KT GCMG GCVO PC

(1860-1908)
2 February
1905
4 December
1905
10 months and 2 days Conservative
C1900 John Sinclair.jpg The Right Honourable
John Sinclair
1st Baron Pentland
PC
[nb 2]
(1860-1925)
10 December
1905
13 February
1912
6 years, 2 months and 3 days Liberal Campbell-Bannerman
Asquith
(I–III)
Thomas Mackinnon Wood.jpg The Right Honourable
Thomas Wood

MP for Glasgow St Rollox
(1855-1927)
13 February
1912
9 July
1916
4 years, 4 months and 26 days Liberal
Asquith Coalition
(Lib.-Con.-Lab.)
Harold J. Tennant o.jpg The Right Honourable
Harold Tennant

MP for Berwickshire
(1865-1935)
9 July
1916
5 December
1916
4 months and 26 days Liberal
1922 Robert Munro.jpg The Right Honourable
Robert Munro
KC

MP for Roxburgh and Selkirk [nb 3]
(1868-1955)
10 December
1916
19 October
1922
5 years, 10 months and 9 days Liberal Lloyd George
(I & II)

(Lib.-Con.-Lab.)
Ronald Munro Ferguson (Barnett-02).jpg The Right Honourable
Ronald Munro Ferguson
1st Viscount Novar
GCMG PC

(1860-1934)
24 October
1922
22 January
1924
1 year, 2 months and 29 days Independent Law
Baldwin I
Cropped photograph of William Adamson.jpg The Right Honourable
William Adamson

MP for West Fife
(1863-1936)
22 January
1924
3 November
1924
9 months and 12 days Labour MacDonald I
Sir John Gilmour.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir John Gilmour
Bt DSO TD JP DL

MP for Glasgow Pollok
(1876-1940)
6 November
1924
26 July
1926[inconsistent]
1 year, 8 months and 20 days
(Cont. below)
Unionist Baldwin II

Secretaries of State for Scotland (1926-present)

Secretary of State for Scotland
Portrait Name
(Birth-Death)
Term of office Length of term Party Ministry Ref.
Sir John Gilmour.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir John Gilmour
Bt DSO TD JP DL

MP for Glasgow Pollok
(1876-1940)
15 July
1926[inconsistent]
4 June
1929
2 years, 10 months and 20 days
(Cont. from above)
Unionist Baldwin II [8]
Cropped photograph of William Adamson.jpg The Right Honourable
William Adamson

MP for West Fife
(1863-1936)
7 June
1929
24 August
1931
2 years, 2 months and 17 days Labour MacDonald II
The Air Ministry, 1939-1945. CH10270.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir Archibald Sinclair
Bt CMG

MP for Caithness and Sutherland
(1890-1970)
25 August
1931
28 September
1932
1 year, 1 month and 3 days Liberal National I
(N.Lab.-Con.-Lib.N.-Lib.)
[9]
National II
(N.Lab.-Con.-Lib.N.-Lib.)
Godfrey Collins.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir Godfrey Collins
KBE CMG

MP for Greenock
(1875-1936)
28 September
1932
29 October
1936
4 years, 1 month and 1 day Liberal National [10]
National III
(Con.-N.Lab.-Lib.N.)
Walter Elliott MP.jpg The Right Honourable
Dr Walter Elliot
MC FRS FRSE

MP for Glasgow Kelvingrove
(1888-1958)
29 October
1936
6 May
1938
1 year, 6 months and 7 days Unionist [11]
National IV
(Con.-N.Lab.-Lib.N.)
The Right Honourable
John Colville

MP for Midlothian and Peebles Northern
(1894-1954)
6 May
1938
10 May
1940
2 years and 4 days Unionist [12]
Chamberlain War
(Con.-N.Lab.-Lib.N.)
BrownErnest.jpg The Right Honourable
Ernest Brown

MP for Leith
(1881-1962)
14 May
1940
8 February
1941
8 months and 25 days Liberal National Churchill War
(All parties)
[13]
Thomas Johnston.png The Right Honourable
Thomas Johnston

MP for West Stirlingshire
(1881-1965)
8 February
1941
23 May
1945
4 years, 3 months and 15 days Labour [14]
Lord Dalmeny.jpg The Right Honourable
Harry Primrose
6th Earl of Rosebery
DSO MC PC

(1882-1974)
25 May
1945
26 July
1945
2 months and 1 day Liberal National Churchill Caretaker
(Con.-N.Lib.)
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Joseph Westwood

MP for Stirling and Falkirk
(1884-1948)
3 August
1945
7 October
1947
2 years, 2 months and 4 days Labour Attlee
(I & II)
[15]
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Arthur Woodburn

MP for Clackmannan and Eastern Stirlingshire
(1890-1978)
7 October
1947
28 February
1950
2 years, 4 months and 21 days Labour [16]
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Hector McNeil

MP for Greenock
(1907-1955)
28 February
1950
26 October
1951
1 year, 7 months and 28 days Labour [17]
The Right Honourable
James Stuart
MVO MC

MP for Moray and Nairn
(1897-1971)
30 October
1951
13 January
1957
5 years, 2 months and 14 days Unionist Churchill III
Eden
The Right Honourable
John Maclay
CMG

MP for West Renfrewshire
(1905-1992)
13 January
1957
13 July
1962
5 years and 6 months Unionist Macmillan
(I & II)
[18]
The Right Honourable
Michael Noble

MP for Argyllshire
(1913-1984)
13 July
1962
16 October
1964
2 years, 3 months and 3 days Unionist [19]
Douglas-Home
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Willie Ross
MBE

MP for Kilmarnock
(1911-1988)
18 October
1964
19 June
1970
5 years, 8 months and 1 day Labour Wilson
(I & II)
[20]
The Right Honourable
Gordon Campbell
MC

MP for Moray and Nairn
(1921-2005)
20 June
1970
4 March
1974
3 years, 8 months and 12 days Conservative Heath
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Willie Ross
MBE

MP for Kilmarnock
(1911-1988)
5 March
1974
8 April
1976
2 years, 1 month and 3 days Labour Wilson
(III & IV)
[20]
Bruce Millan.tif The Right Honourable
Bruce Millan

MP for Glasgow Craigton
(1927-2013)
8 April
1976
4 May
1979
3 years and 26 days Labour Callaghan [21]
George Younger.JPEG The Right Honourable
George Younger
TD

MP for Ayr
(1931-2003)
5 May
1979
11 January
1986
6 years, 8 months and 6 days Conservative Thatcher I [22]
Thatcher II
Malcolm Rifkind.jpg The Right Honourable
Malcolm Rifkind
QC

MP for Edinburgh Pentlands
(born 1946)
11 January
1986
28 November
1990
4 years, 10 months and 17 days Conservative [23]
Thatcher III
Official Portrait of Lord Lang of Monkton crop 2.jpg The Right Honourable
Ian Lang

MP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale
(born 1940)
28 November
1990
5 July
1995
4 years, 7 months and 7 days Conservative Major I [24]
Major II
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Michael Forsyth

MP for Stirling
(born 1954)
5 July
1995
2 May
1997
1 year, 9 months and 27 days Conservative [25]
Donald Dewar.jpg The Right Honourable
Donald Dewar

MP for Glasgow Anniesland
(1937-2000)
2 May
1997
17 May
1999
2 years and 15 days Labour Blair I [26]
ReidTaormina crop.jpg The Right Honourable
Dr John Reid

MP for Hamilton North and Bellshill
(born 1949)
17 May
1999
25 January
2001
1 year, 8 months and 8 days Labour [27]
Official portrait of Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke crop 2.jpg The Right Honourable
Helen Liddell

MP for Airdrie and Shotts
(born 1950)
25 January
2001
13 June
2003
2 years, 4 months and 19 days Labour Blair II [28]
AlistairDarlingABr cropped.jpg The Right Honourable
Alistair Darling
[nb 4]
MP for Edinburgh South West [nb 5]
(born 1953)
13 June
2003
5 May
2006
2 years, 10 months and 22 days Labour [29]
Blair III
Douglas Alexander at the India Economic Summit 2008.jpg The Right Honourable
Douglas Alexander
[nb 4]
MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South
(born 1967)
5 May
2006
27 June
2007
1 year, 1 month and 22 days Labour [30]
Official portrait of Lord Browne of Ladyton crop 2.jpg The Right Honourable
Des Browne
[nb 6]
MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
(born 1952)
28 June
2007
3 October
2008
1 year, 3 months and 5 days Labour Brown [31]
Jim Murphy, April 2009 cropped.jpg The Right Honourable
Jim Murphy

MP for East Renfrewshire
(born 1967)
3 October
2008
11 May
2010
1 year, 7 months and 8 days Labour [32]
Danny alexander hi.jpg The Right Honourable
Danny Alexander

MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
(born 1972)
12 May
2010
29 May
2010
17 days Liberal Democrat Cameron-Clegg
(Con.-L.D.)
[33]
Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland.jpg The Right Honourable
Michael Moore

MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
(born 1965)
29 May
2010
7 October
2013
3 years, 4 months and 8 days Liberal Democrat [34]
Official portrait of Mr Alistair Carmichael crop 2.jpg The Right Honourable
Alistair Carmichael

MP for Orkney and Shetland
(born 1965)
7 October
2013
8 May
2015
1 year, 7 months and 1 day Liberal Democrat [35]
Official portrait of David Mundell crop 2.jpg The Right Honourable
David Mundell
WS

MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale
(born 1962)
11 May
2015
24 July
2019
4 years, 2 months and 13 days Conservative  
Cameron II
 
[36]
May
(I & II)
Official portrait of Mr Alister Jack crop 2.jpg The Right Honourable
Alister Jack

MP for Dumfries and Galloway
(born 1963)
24 July
2019
Incumbent
1 year, 1 month and 26 days Conservative Johnson [37]
Notes
  1. ^ Duke of Lennox in the peerage of Scotland
  2. ^ MP for Forfar until 1909; created Baron Pentland 1909
  3. ^ MP for Wick Burghs until 1918; MP for Roxburgh and Selkirk thereafter
  4. ^ a b Concurrently served as Secretary of State for Transport
  5. ^ MP for Edinburgh Central until 2005; MP for Edinburgh South West thereafter
  6. ^ Concurrently served as Secretary of State for Defence

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Secretary of State for Scotland - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ a b "SNP questions budget of 'zombie department' Scotland Office". STV News. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ "BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Scrap Scotland Office, SNP urging". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ Secretary for Scotland Act 1885, section 2.
  5. ^ Secretaries of State Act 1926
  6. ^ Secretary for Scotland Act 1885, section 2; Secretaries of State Act 1926, section 1
  7. ^ Scotland Act 1998, section 45(7)
  8. ^ "Mr John Gilmour". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ "Sir Archibald Sinclair". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "Mr Godfrey Collins". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ "Mr Walter Elliot". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ "Mr John Colville". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ "Mr Ernest Brown". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  14. ^ "Mr Thomas Johnston". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ "Mr Joseph Westwood". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ "Mr Arthur Woodburn". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ "Mr Hector McNeill". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ "Hon. John Maclay". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ "Mr Michael Noble". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Mr William Ross". Hansard 1803-2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  21. ^ "Rt Hon Sir George Younger". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ "Rt Hon Bruce Millan". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ "Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  24. ^ "Lord Lang of Monkton". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  25. ^ "Lord Forsyth of Drumlean". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ "Rt Hon Donald Dewar". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  27. ^ "Lord Reid of Cardowan". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  28. ^ "Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ "Lord Darling of Roulanish". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  30. ^ "Rt Hon Douglas Alexander". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  31. ^ "Lord Browne of Ladyton". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  32. ^ "Rt Hon Jim Murphy". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  33. ^ "Rt Hon Danny Alexander". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  34. ^ "Rt Hon Michael Moore". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  35. ^ "Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  36. ^ "Rt Hon David Mundell MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017.
  37. ^ "Mr Alistair Jack MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2019.

External links


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Secretary_of_State_for_Scotland
 



 



 
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