Secretary of State for Scotland

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 a secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with responsibility for the Scotland Office. The incumbent is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, 18th in the ministerial ranking.[1]

Secretary of State
for Scotland
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (Government in Scotland).svg
Official portrait of Mr Alister Jack.jpg
Incumbent
Alister Jack

since 24 July 2019
Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland
StyleThe Right Honourable
StatusSecretary of state
Minister of the Crown
AppointerThe King
(on the advice of the Prime Minister)
Term lengthAt His Majesty's pleasure
Inaugural holderThe Earl of Mar
Formation1926 (current form)
1 May 1707 (original form)
Deputyvacant
(as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State)
WebsiteScotland Office

The office holder works alongside the other Scotland Office ministers. The corresponding shadow minister is the shadow secretary of state for Scotland.

The incumbent is Alister Jack, following his appointment by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July 2019 and who was reappointed by Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.

HistoryEdit

Prior to devolution (before 1999)Edit

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)Edit

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. He was later reappointed by Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.

ResponsibilitiesEdit

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 of State 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.[2] 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 (SNP) in both the Scottish Parliament and the British Parliament 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.[3]

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.[2]

This seeming lack of responsibility has in recent years seen calls from opposition MPs for the scrapping of the role and the Scotland Office.[4][3] Robert Hazell has suggested merging the offices of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales into one Secretary of State for the Union,[5] in a department into which Rodney Brazier has suggested adding a Minister of State for England with responsibility for English local government.[6]

List of Scottish secretariesEdit

Secretaries of State for Scotland (1707–1746)Edit

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 Term of office
  John Erskine
Earl of Mar
(since 1705)
1 May
1707
3 February
1709
  James Douglas
2nd Duke of Queensberry
3 February
1709
6 July
1711
  John Erskine
Earl of Mar
30 September
1713
24 September
1714
  James Graham
1st Duke of Montrose
24 September
1714
August
1715
  John Ker
1st Duke of Roxburghe
13 December
1716
August
1725
  John Hay
4th Marquess of Tweeddale
16 February
1742
3 January
1746

Office thereafter vacant.

Secretaries for Scotland (1885–1926)Edit

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] From 1999, the position of Keeper of the Great Seal has been held by the First Minister of Scotland.[10]

Secretary of State Term of office Party Ministry
  Charles Gordon-Lennox
6th Duke of Richmond

[nb 1]
17 August
1885
28 January
1886
Conservative Salisbury I
  George Trevelyan
MP for Hawick Burghs
8 February
1886
March
1886
Liberal Gladstone III
  John Ramsay
13th Earl of Dalhousie
5 April
1886
20 July
1886
Liberal
  Arthur Balfour
MP for Manchester East
5 August
1886
11 March
1887
Conservative Salisbury II
  Schomberg Kerr
9th Marquess of Lothian
11 March
1887
11 August
1892
Conservative
  George Trevelyan
MP for Glasgow Bridgeton
18 August
1892
21 June
1895
Liberal Gladstone IV
Rosebery
  Alexander Bruce
6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh
29 June
1895
9 October
1903
Conservative Salisbury
(III & IV)

(Con.Lib.U.)
Balfour
(Con.Lib.U.)
  Andrew Murray
MP for Buteshire
9 October
1903
2 February
1905
Conservative
  John Hope
1st Marquess of Linlithgow
2 February
1905
4 December
1905
Conservative
  John Sinclair
1st Baron Pentland
[nb 2]
10 December
1905
13 February
1912
Liberal Campbell-Bannerman
Asquith
(I–III)
  Thomas McKinnon Wood
MP for Glasgow St Rollox
13 February
1912
9 July
1916
Liberal
Asquith Coalition
(Lib.Con.Lab.)
  Harold Tennant
MP for Berwickshire
9 July
1916
5 December
1916
Liberal
  Robert Munro
MP for Roxburgh and Selkirk [nb 3]
10 December
1916
19 October
1922
Liberal Lloyd George
(I & II)

(Lib.Con.Lab.)
  Ronald Munro Ferguson
1st Viscount Novar
24 October
1922
22 January
1924
Independent Law
Baldwin I
  William Adamson
MP for West Fife
22 January
1924
3 November
1924
Labour MacDonald I
  John Gilmour
MP for Glasgow Pollok
6 November
1924
26 July
1926[inconsistent]
Unionist Baldwin II

Secretaries of State for Scotland (1926–present)Edit

Secretary of State Term of office Party Ministry
  John Gilmour[11]
MP for Glasgow Pollok
26 July
1926
[inconsistent]
4 June
1929
Unionist Baldwin II
  William Adamson
MP for West Fife
7 June
1929
24 August
1931
Labour MacDonald II
  Archibald Sinclair[12]
MP for Caithness and Sutherland
25 August
1931
28 September
1932
Liberal National I
(N.Lab.Con.Lib.N.Lib.)
National II
(N.Lab.Con.Lib.N.Lib.)
  Godfrey Collins[13]
MP for Greenock
28 September
1932
29 October
1936
Liberal National
National III
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)
  Walter Elliot[14]
MP for Glasgow Kelvingrove
29 October
1936
6 May
1938
Unionist
National IV
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)
  John Colville[15]
MP for Midlothian and Peebles Northern
6 May
1938
10 May
1940
Unionist
Chamberlain War
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)
  Ernest Brown[16]
MP for Leith
14 May
1940
8 February
1941
Liberal National Churchill War
(All parties)
  Thomas Johnston[17]
MP for West Stirlingshire
8 February
1941
23 May
1945
Labour
  Harry Primrose
6th Earl of Rosebery
25 May
1945
26 July
1945
Liberal National Churchill Caretaker
(Con.N.Lib.)
  Joseph Westwood[18]
MP for Stirling and Falkirk
3 August
1945
7 October
1947
Labour Attlee
(I & II)
  Arthur Woodburn[19]
MP for Clackmannan and Eastern Stirlingshire
7 October
1947
28 February
1950
Labour
  Hector McNeil[20]
MP for Greenock
28 February
1950
26 October
1951
Labour
  James Stuart
MP for Moray and Nairn
30 October
1951
13 January
1957
Unionist Churchill III
Eden
  John Maclay[21]
MP for West Renfrewshire
13 January
1957
13 July
1962
Unionist Macmillan
(I & II)
  Michael Noble[22]
MP for Argyllshire
13 July
1962
16 October
1964
Unionist
Douglas-Home
  Willie Ross[23]
MP for Kilmarnock
18 October
1964
19 June
1970
Labour Wilson
(I & II)
  Gordon Campbell
MP for Moray and Nairn
20 June
1970
4 March
1974
Conservative Heath
  Willie Ross
MP for Kilmarnock
5 March
1974
8 April
1976
Labour Wilson
(III & IV)
  Bruce Millan[24]
MP for Glasgow Craigton
8 April
1976
4 May
1979
Labour Callaghan
  George Younger[25]
MP for Ayr
5 May
1979
11 January
1986
Conservative Thatcher I
Thatcher II
  Malcolm Rifkind[26]
MP for Edinburgh Pentlands
11 January
1986
28 November
1990
Conservative
Thatcher III
  Ian Lang[27]
MP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale
28 November
1990
5 July
1995
Conservative Major I
Major II
  Michael Forsyth[28]
MP for Stirling
5 July
1995
2 May
1997
Conservative
  Donald Dewar[29]
MP for Glasgow Anniesland
2 May
1997
17 May
1999
Labour Blair I
  John Reid[30]
MP for Hamilton North and Bellshill
17 May
1999
25 January
2001
Labour
  Helen Liddell[31]
MP for Airdrie and Shotts
25 January
2001
13 June
2003
Labour Blair II
  Alistair Darling[32][a]
MP for Edinburgh South West[b]
(born 1953)
13 June
2003
5 May
2006
Labour
Blair III
  Douglas Alexander[33][a]
MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South
5 May
2006
28 June
2007
Labour
  Des Browne[34][c]
MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
28 June
2007
3 October
2008
Labour Brown
  Jim Murphy[35]
MP for East Renfrewshire
3 October
2008
11 May
2010
Labour
  Danny Alexander[36]
MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
12 May
2010
29 May
2010
Liberal Democrat Cameron–Clegg
(Con.L.D.)
  Michael Moore[37]
MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
29 May
2010
7 October
2013
Liberal Democrat
  Alistair Carmichael[38]
MP for Orkney and Shetland
7 October
2013
8 May
2015
Liberal Democrat
  David Mundell[39]
MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale
11 May
2015
24 July
2019
Conservative Cameron II
May I
May II
  Alister Jack[40]
MP for Dumfries and Galloway
24 July
2019
Incumbent Conservative Johnson I
Johnson II
Truss
Sunak
Notes
  1. ^ a b Concurrently served as Secretary of State for Transport
  2. ^ MP for Edinburgh Central until 2005; MP for Edinburgh South West thereafter
  3. ^ Concurrently served as Secretary of State for Defence

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  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

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "His Majesty's Government: The Cabinet". parliament.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b "Secretary of State for Scotland - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b "SNP questions budget of 'zombie department' Scotland Office". STV News. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  4. ^ "BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Scrap Scotland Office, SNP urging". news.bbc.co.uk. 25 November 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Times letters: Mark Sedwill's call for a cull of the cabinet". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Rodney Brazier: Why is Her Majesty's Government so big?". UK Constitutional Law Association. 7 September 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  7. ^ Secretary for Scotland Act 1885, section 2.
  8. ^ Secretaries of State Act 1926
  9. ^ Secretary for Scotland Act 1885, section 2; Secretaries of State Act 1926, section 1
  10. ^ Scotland Act 1998, section 45(7)
  11. ^ "Mr John Gilmour". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Sir Archibald Sinclair". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Mr Godfrey Collins". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Mr Walter Elliot". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Mr John Colville". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Mr Ernest Brown". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Mr Thomas Johnston". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  18. ^ "Mr Joseph Westwood". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  19. ^ "Mr Arthur Woodburn". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Mr Hector McNeill". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  21. ^ "Hon. John Maclay". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  22. ^ "Mr Michael Noble". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  23. ^ "Mr William Ross". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  24. ^ "Rt Hon Bruce Millan". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  25. ^ "Rt Hon Sir George Younger". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  26. ^ "Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  27. ^ "Lord Lang of Monkton". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  28. ^ "Lord Forsyth of Drumlean". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  29. ^ "Rt Hon Donald Dewar". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  30. ^ "Lord Reid of Cardowan". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  31. ^ "Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  32. ^ "Lord Darling of Roulanish". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  33. ^ "Rt Hon Douglas Alexander". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  34. ^ "Lord Browne of Ladyton". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  35. ^ "Rt Hon Jim Murphy". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  36. ^ "Rt Hon Danny Alexander". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  37. ^ "Rt Hon Michael Moore". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  38. ^ "Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  39. ^ "Rt Hon David Mundell MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  40. ^ "Mr Alistair Jack MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 July 2019.

External linksEdit