Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, normally referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior, high-ranking official within the Government of the United Kingdom and head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Foreign Secretary is a member of the Cabinet, and the post is considered one of the Great Offices of State. It is considered a position similar to that of Foreign Minister in other countries. The Foreign Secretary reports directly to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
|Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs|
|Foreign and Commonwealth Office|
|Style||Foreign Secretary (informal)|
The Right Honourable
(within the UK and the Commonwealth)
(in international correspondence)
National Security Council (NSC)
|Reports to||Prime Minister of the United Kingdom|
|Residence||No. 1 Carlton Gardens|
on advice of the Prime Minister
|Term length||At Her Majesty's pleasure|
|Formation||27 March 1782|
|First holder||Charles James Fox|
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The Foreign Secretary's remit includes: relations with foreign countries, matters pertaining to the Commonwealth of Nations and the Overseas Territories in addition to the promotion of British interests abroad. The Foreign Secretary also has ministerial oversight for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The Foreign Secretary works out of the Foreign Office in Whitehall, and the post's official residences are 1 Carlton Gardens in London and Chevening in Kent. Margaret Beckett, appointed in 2006 by Tony Blair, is the only woman to have held the post.
The current Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs is Dominic Raab, since his appointment by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in July 2019.
The position of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was created in the British governmental reorganisation of 1782, in which the Northern and Southern Departments became the Home and Foreign Offices, respectively. Eventually, the position of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs came into existence in 1968 with the merger of the functions of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs into a single Department of State. The India Office was a constituent predecessor department of the Foreign Office, as were the Colonial Office and the Dominions Office.
List of Foreign Secretaries
Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs (1782–1968)
- ^† Died in office.
- The Prince of Wales served as Prince Regent from 5 February 1811.
- Elevated to the Peerage of the United Kingdom in November 1803.
- Elected to a new constituency in the 1807 general election.
- Elected to a new constituency in the 1950 general election.
- Walker was MP for Smethwick, and Labour's shadow Foreign Secretary, prior to the 1964 general election. He lost his seat in the election but was appointed to the post anyway. He resigned after fighting and losing a 1965 by-election in Leyton.
Secretaries of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1968–present)
- Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
- Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
- Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs
- Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations
- Secretary of State for the Colonies
- Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
- Foreign minister
- Great Offices of State
- "Public List" (PDF). Protocol and Liaison Service. United Nations. 24 August 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- "Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Ministerial responsibility". GCHQ. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
Day-to-day ministerial responsibility for GCHQ lies with the Foreign Secretary.
- Andrew Sparrow (24 July 2019). "Raab appointed foreign secretary and first secretary of state". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
- "Past Foreign Secretaries". gov.uk. Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
- Including honorifics and constituencies for elected MPs.
- "Boris Johnson quits to add to pressure on May over Brexit". BBC News. 9 July 2018.
- "Jeremy Hunt replaces Boris Johnson as foreign secretary". BBC News. 9 July 2018.
- Cecil, Algernon. British foreign secretaries, 1807-1916: studies in personality and policy (1927). pp 89–130. online
- Goodman, Sam. The Imperial Premiership: The Role of the Modern Prime Minister in Foreign Policy Making, 1964-2015 (Oxford UP, 2016).
- Hughes, Michael. British Foreign Secretaries in an Uncertain World, 1919-1939. (Routledge, 2004).
- Johnson, Gaynor. "Introduction: The Foreign Office and British Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century," Contemporary British History, (2004) 18:3, 1-12, DOI: 10.1080/1361946042000259279
- Neilson, Keith, and Thomas G. Otte. The permanent under-secretary for foreign affairs, 1854-1946 (Routledge, 2008).
- Otte, Thomas G. The Foreign Office Mind: The Making of British Foreign Policy, 1865–1914 (Cambridge UP, 2011).
- Steiner, Zara. The Foreign Office and Foreign Policy, 1898-1914 (1986).
- Temperley, Harold. "British Secret Diplomacy from Canning to Grey." Cambridge Historical Journal 6.1 (1938): 1-32.
- Theakston, Kevin, ed. British foreign secretaries since 1974 (Routledge, 2004).
- Wilson, Keith M., ed. British foreign secretaries and foreign policy: from Crimean War to First World War (1987).
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