Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
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The secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, known as the foreign secretary, is a
minister of the Crown Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Commonwealth realms to describe a Minister (government), minister of the reigning sovereign or viceroy. The term indicates that the minister serves At His Majesty's pleasure, at His ...
of the
Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal coat of arms of t ...
and head of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Seen as one of the most senior ministers in the government and a Great Office of State, the incumbent is a member of the
Cabinet of the United Kingdom The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the senior decision-making body of His Majesty's Government. A committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, Privy Council, it is chaired by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, prime minister a ...
. The office holder works alongside the other Foreign Office ministers. The corresponding shadow minister is the Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs. The performance of the secretary of state is also scrutinised by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. The current foreign secretary is James Cleverly MP, appointed in the September 2022 cabinet reshuffle.


Responsibilities

Corresponding to what is generally known as a
foreign minister A foreign affairs minister or minister of foreign affairs (less commonly minister for foreign affairs) is generally a cabinet minister in charge of a state's foreign policy and relations. The formal title of the top official varies between c ...
in many other countries, the foreign secretary's remit includes: * British relations with foreign countries and governments * Promotion of British interests abroad. * Matters pertaining to the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the C ...
and the Overseas Territories * Oversight for the
Secret Intelligence Service The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6 (MI numbers, Military Intelligence, Section 6), is the foreign intelligence service of the United Kingdom, tasked mainly with the covert overseas collection and analysis of human ...
(MI6) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).


Residence

The official residence of the foreign secretary is 1 Carlton Gardens, in
London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
. The foreign secretary also has the use of Chevening House, a
country house An English country house is a large house or mansion in the English countryside. Such houses were often owned by individuals who also owned a Townhouse (Great Britain), town house. This allowed them to spend time in the country and in the cit ...
in
Kent Kent is a Counties of England, county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River ...
,
South East England South East England is one of the nine official regions of England at the ITL 1 statistical regions of England, first level of International Territorial Level, ITL for Statistics, statistical purposes. It consists of the counties of england, ...
and works out of the Foreign Office in Whitehall.


History

The title secretary of state in the government of England dates back to the early 17th century. 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
Foreign Office Foreign may refer to: Government * Foreign policy A State (polity), state's foreign policy or external policy (as opposed to internal or domestic policy) is its objectives and activities in relation to its interactions with other states, unio ...
and Home Office respectively. The
India Office The India Office was a British government department established Foreign and Commonwealth Office Main Building, in London in 1858 to oversee the administration, through a Governor-General of India, Viceroy and other officials, of the Presidenci ...
which, like the
Colonial Office The Colonial Office was a Ministry (government department), government department of the Kingdom of Great Britain and later of the Departments of the United Kingdom Government, United Kingdom, first created to deal with the colonial affairs of ...
and the Dominions Office, had been a constituent predecessor department of the Foreign Office, was closed down in 1947. 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 the state for foreign affairs and the secretary of state for Commonwealth affairs into a single department of state.
Margaret Beckett Dame Margaret Mary Beckett (''née'' Jackson; born 15 January 1943) is a British politician who has served as the Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Derby South (UK Parliament constituency), Derby South since ...
, appointed in 2006 by
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He pr ...
, was the first woman to have held the post. The post of secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs was created in 2020 when position holder Dominic Raab absorbed the responsibilities of the secretary of state for international development.


List of foreign secretaries


Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs (1782–1968)

: Died in office.


Secretaries of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1968–2020)

Post created through the merger of the
Foreign Office Foreign may refer to: Government * Foreign policy A State (polity), state's foreign policy or external policy (as opposed to internal or domestic policy) is its objectives and activities in relation to its interactions with other states, unio ...
and the Commonwealth Office.


Secretaries of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs (2020–present)

Post created through the merger of the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is a Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of the Government of the United Kingdom. Equivalent to other countries' Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ministries of fore ...
and the Department for International Development.


See also

* 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 The secretary of state for the colonies or colonial secretary was the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, British Cabinet government minister, minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various British Empire, colonial dependencies. Histor ...
* Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs *
Foreign minister A foreign affairs minister or minister of foreign affairs (less commonly minister for foreign affairs) is generally a cabinet minister in charge of a state's foreign policy and relations. The formal title of the top official varies between c ...
* Great Offices of State


References


Further reading

* 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). * Seldon, Anthony. ''The Impossible Office? The History of the British Prime Minister'' (2021
excerpt
major scholarly history. Covers the relations with Prime Minister in Chapter 8. * 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).


External links


FCO website
{{DEFAULTSORT:Secretary of State For Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs Foreign relations of the United Kingdom Ministerial offices in the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Secretary of State for Foreign ministers of the United Kingdom 1782 establishments in Great Britain 1782 in politics 1968 in politics 1968 establishments in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...