Secretary of State for Scotland

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Secretary of State for Scotland
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (Government in Scotland).svg
David Mundell UK Gov.jpg
Incumbent
David Mundell

since 8 May 2015
Scotland Office
Style The Right Honourable
Appointer Elizabeth II
Inaugural holder The Earl of Mar
Formation 1 May 1707
Website Scotland Office
Flag of Scotland.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Scotland

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Rùnaire Stàite na h-Alba, Scots: Secretar o State for Scotland) is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland representing Scotland. They head the Scotland Office (formerly the Scottish Office), a government department based in London and Edinburgh.

Post history[edit]

Prior to devolution (pre–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.

Post devolution (1999–present)[edit]

After the 1999 Scottish devolution, the powers of the Scotland 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. Consequently, the role of Secretary of State for Scotland has been diminished. A recent Scottish Secretary, Des Browne, held the post whilst simultaneously being Secretary of State for Defence.

The current Secretary of State for Scotland is David Mundell.

Secretaries of State for Scotland 1707–1746[edit]

John Erskine, 22nd 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.

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office
John Erskine - Earl of Mar - Project Gutenberg etext 20946.jpg John Erskine
23rd Earl of Mar

(1675–1732)
(since 1705)
1 May
1707
3 February
1709
2ndDukeOfQueensberryFull.jpg James Douglas
2nd Duke of Queensberry

(1662–1711)
3 February
1709
6 July
1711
John Erskine - Earl of Mar - Project Gutenberg etext 20946.jpg John Erskine
23rd Earl of Mar

(1675–1732)
30 September
1713
24 September
1714
James Graham 1682-1742.jpg James Graham
1st Duke of Montrose

(1682–1742)
24 September
1714
August
1715
John Ker, 1st Duke of Roxburghe.jpg John Ker
1st Duke of Roxburghe

(1680–1741)
13 December
1716
August
1725
John Hay, 4th Marquess of Tweeddale.jpg John Hay
4th Marquess of Tweeddale

(1695–1762)
16 February
1742
3 January
1746

Office thereafter vacant.

Secretaries and Secretaries of State for Scotland[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,[1] 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.[2]

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,[3] from 1999, the position of Keeper of the Great Seal has been held by the First Minister of Scotland.[4]

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.

Secretary for Scotland
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office 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
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
Liberal Gladstone III
13thEarlOfDalhousie.jpg The Right Honourable
John Ramsay
13th Earl of Dalhousie
KT PC

(1847–1887)
5 April
1886
20 July
1886
Liberal
Arthur Balfour, photo portrait facing left.jpg The Right Honourable
Arthur Balfour
DL

MP for Manchester East
(1848–1930)
5 August
1886
11 March
1887
Conservative Salisbury II
9thMarquessOfLothian.jpg The Most Honourable
Schomberg Kerr
9th Marquess of Lothian
KT PC FRSE

(1833–1900)
11 March
1887
11 August
1892
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
Liberal Gladstone IV
Rosebery
6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh.jpg The Right Honourable
Alexander Bruce
6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh
KT PC

(1849–1921)
29 June
1895
9 October
1903
Conservative Salisbury
(III–V)

(Con.Lib.U.)
Balfour
(Con.Lib.U.)
Andrew Murray, 1st Viscount Dunedin NPG.jpg The Right Honourable
Andrew Murray
KC

MP for Buteshire
(1849–1942)
9 October
1903
2 February
1905
Conservative
Hopetoun.jpg The Right Honourable
John Hope
1st Marquess of Linlithgow
KT GCMG GCVO PC

(1860–1908)
2 February
1905
4 December
1905
Conservative
John Sinclair MP.jpg The Right Honourable
John Sinclair
1st Baron Pentland
PC
[nb 2]
(1860–1925)
10 December
1905
13 February
1912
Liberal Campbell-Bannerman
(I & II)
Asquith
(I–III)
Thomas McKinnon Wood.jpg The Right Honourable
Thomas Wood

MP for Glasgow St Rollox
(1855–1927)
13 February
1912
9 July
1916
Liberal
Asquith IV
(Lib.Con.Lab.)
Harold J. Tennant o.jpg The Right Honourable
Harold Tennant

MP for Berwickshire
(1865–1935)
9 July
1916
5 December
1916
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
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
Independent Law
(I & II)
Baldwin I
William Adamson.jpg The Right Honourable
William Adamson

MP for West Fife
(1863–1936)
22 January
1924
3 November
1924
Labour MacDonald I
SirJohnGilmour.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir John Gilmour
Bt DSO TD JP DL

MP for Glasgow Pollok
(1876–1940)
6 November
1924
26 July
1926
Unionist Baldwin II
Secretary of State for Scotland
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Ministry Ref.
SirJohnGilmour.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir John Gilmour
Bt DSO TD JP DL

MP for Glasgow Pollok
(1876–1940)
15 July
1926
4 June
1929
Unionist Baldwin II [5]
William Adamson.jpg The Right Honourable
William Adamson

MP for West Fife
(1863–1936)
7 June
1929
24 August
1931
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
Liberal 1st National
(N.Lab.Con.Lib.N.Lib.)
[6]
2nd National
(N.Lab.Con.Lib.N.Lib.)
Sir Godfrey Collins.jpg The Right Honourable
Sir Godfrey Collins
KBE CMG

MP for Greenock
(1875–1936)
28 September
1932
29 October
1936
Liberal National [7]
3rd National
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)
The Right Honourable
Dr Walter Elliot
MC FRS FRSE

MP for Glasgow Kelvingrove
(1888–1958)
29 October
1936
6 May
1938
Unionist [8]
4th National
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)
No image.svg The Right Honourable
John Colville

MP for Midlothian and Peebles Northern
(1894–1954)
6 May
1938
10 May
1940
Unionist [9]
Chamberlain War
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)
The Right Honourable
Ernest Brown

MP for Leith
(1881–1962)
14 May
1940
8 February
1941
Liberal National Churchill War
(All parties)
[10]
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Thomas Johnston

MP for West Stirlingshire
(1881–1965)
8 February
1941
23 May
1945
Labour [11]
Lord Dalmeny Vanity Fair 1904-09-22.jpeg The Right Honourable
Harry Primrose
6th Earl of Rosebery
DSO MC PC

(1882–1974)
25 May
1945
26 July
1945
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
Labour Attlee
(I & II)
[12]
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Arthur Woodburn

MP for Clackmannan and Eastern Stirlingshire
(1890–1978)
7 October
1947
28 February
1950
Labour [13]
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Hector McNeil

MP for Greenock
(1907–1955)
28 February
1950
26 October
1951
Labour [14]
No image.svg The Right Honourable
James Stuart
MVO MC

MP for Moray and Nairn
(1897–1971)
30 October
1951
13 January
1957
Unionist Churchill III
Eden
(I & II)
No image.svg The Right Honourable
John Maclay
CMG

MP for West Renfrewshire
(1905–1992)
13 January
1957
13 July
1962
Unionist Macmillan
(I & II)
[15]
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Michael Noble

MP for Argyllshire
(1913–1984)
13 July
1962
16 October
1964
Unionist [16]
Douglas-Home
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Willie Ross
MBE

MP for Kilmarnock
(1911–1988)
18 October
1964
19 June
1970
Labour Wilson
(I & II)
[17]
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Gordon Campbell
MC

MP for Moray and Nairn
(1921–2005)
20 June
1970
4 March
1974
Conservative Heath
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Willie Ross
MBE

MP for Kilmarnock
(1911–1988)
5 March
1974
8 April
1976
Labour Wilson
(III & IV)
[17]
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Bruce Millan

MP for Glasgow Craigton
(1927–2013)
8 April
1976
4 May
1979
Labour Callaghan [18]
George Younger.JPEG The Right Honourable
George Younger
TD

MP for Ayr
(1931–2003)
5 May
1979
11 January
1986
Conservative Thatcher I [19]
Thatcher II
Malcolm Rifkind.jpg The Right Honourable
Malcolm Rifkind
QC

MP for Edinburgh Pentlands
(born 1946)
11 January
1986
28 November
1990
Conservative [20]
Thatcher III
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Ian Lang

MP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale
(born 1940)
28 November
1990
5 July
1995
Conservative Major I [21]
Major II
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Michael Forsyth

MP for Stirling
(born 1954)
5 July
1995
2 May
1997
Conservative [22]
Donald Dewar.jpg The Right Honourable
Donald Dewar

MP for Glasgow Anniesland
(1937–2000)
3 May
1997
17 May
1999
Labour Blair
(I–III)
[23]
ReidTaormina crop.jpg The Right Honourable
Dr John Reid

MP for Hamilton North and Bellshill
(born 1949)
17 May
1999
25 January
2001
Labour [24]
No image.svg The Right Honourable
Helen Liddell

MP for Airdrie and Shotts
(born 1950)
25 January
2001
13 June
2003
Labour [25]
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
Labour [26]
Douglas Alexander at the India Economic Summit 2008.jpg The Right Honourable
Douglas Alexander
[nb 6]
MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South
(born 1967)
5 May
2006
27 June
2007
Labour [27]
Des Browne 070114-D-7203T-010.jpg The Right Honourable
Des Browne
[nb 7]
MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
(born 1952)
28 June
2007
3 October
2008
Labour Brown [28]
Jim Murphy, April 2009 cropped.jpg The Right Honourable
Jim Murphy

MP for East Renfrewshire
(born 1967)
3 October
2008
11 May
2010
Labour [29]
Danny Alexander MP at Bournemouth.jpg The Right Honourable
Danny Alexander

MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
(born 1972)
11 May
2010
29 May
2010
Liberal Democrat Cameron–Clegg
(Con.L.D.)
[30]
Michael Moore at Birmingham 2011.jpg The Right Honourable
Michael Moore

MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
(born 1965)
29 May
2010
7 October
2013
Liberal Democrat [31]
Alistair Carmichael at Glasgow 2014.jpg The Right Honourable
Alistair Carmichael

MP for Orkney and Shetland
(born 1965)
7 October
2013
8 May
2015
Liberal Democrat [32]
David Mundell UK Gov.jpg The Right Honourable
David Mundell
WS

MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale
(born 1962)
11 May
2015
Incumbent Conservative  
Cameron II
 
[33]
May I
May II
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. ^ 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 Transport
  7. ^ Concurrently served as Secretary of State for Defence

Responsibilities[edit]

With the advent of legislative devolution for Scotland in 1999, the role of Secretary of State for Scotland has been 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 otherwise to other UK government ministers.

As a result of this, the office mainly acts as a go-between for the UK and Scottish Governments and Parliaments,[34] however, due to being 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 SNP in the Scottish and British parliaments and the resultant interest in Scottish Independence, the Secretary of states 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.[35] These increases are doubly notable as they took place in a time of national austerity where most other government departments were being cut but also due to the fact that the bulk of the increases came after the Scottish Independence referendum of 2014.

The UK governments website lists the Secretary of State for Scotlands 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."[34]

This seeming lack of responsibility has in recent years seen calls for the scrapping of the role and the wider department of the Scotland Office itself by opposition MPs.[36][35]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Secretary for Scotland Act 1885, section 2.
  2. ^ Secretaries of State Act 1926
  3. ^ Secretary for Scotland Act 1885, section 2; Secretaries of State Act 1926, section 1
  4. ^ Scotland Act 1998, section 45(7)
  5. ^ "Mr John Gilmour". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  6. ^ "Sir Archibald Sinclair". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  7. ^ "Mr Godfrey Collins". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "Mr Walter Elliot". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "Mr John Colville". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "Mr Ernest Brown". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  11. ^ "Mr Thomas Johnston". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  12. ^ "Mr Joseph Westwood". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  13. ^ "Mr Arthur Woodburn". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  14. ^ "Mr Hector McNeill". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  15. ^ "Hon. John Maclay". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  16. ^ "Mr Michael Noble". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  17. ^ a b "Mr William Ross". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  18. ^ "Rt Hon Sir George Younger". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  19. ^ "Rt Hon Bruce Millan". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  20. ^ "Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  21. ^ "Lord Lang of Monkton". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  22. ^ "Lord Forsyth of Drumlean". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  23. ^ "Rt Hon Donald Dewar". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  24. ^ "Lord Reid of Cardowan". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  25. ^ "Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  26. ^ "Lord Darling of Roulanish". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  27. ^ "Rt Hon Douglas Alexander". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  28. ^ "Lord Browne of Ladyton". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  29. ^ "Rt Hon Jim Murphy". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  30. ^ "Rt Hon Danny Alexander". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  31. ^ "Rt Hon Michael Moore". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  32. ^ "Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  33. ^ "Rt Hon David Mundell MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  34. ^ a b "Secretary of State for Scotland - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-01-16. 
  35. ^ a b "SNP questions budget of 'zombie department' Scotland Office". STV News. Retrieved 2017-01-16. 
  36. ^ "BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Scrap Scotland Office, SNP urging". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-01-16. 

External links[edit]