The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Secretary of State for Scotland

The Secretary of State for Scotland is the chief minister in the government of the United Kingdom with responsibilites for Scotland, at the head of the Scotland Office (formerly The Scottish Office). The post of was first created in 1709 shortly after the union of the English and Scottish parliaments but after 1746 the position lapsed following the 1745 Jacobite rebellion and responsibility for Scotland was transferred to the Northern Department, and after 1782 to the Home Office.

By 1885 the job had become too onerous and a separate post of Secretary for Scotland was created, which was usually (though not always) in the Cabinet. In 1926 this post was upgraded to a full Secretary of State appointment.

Also, John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale served as Secretary of State for Scotland from 1660 to 1679, but was unique in that sense.

The 1999 Scottish devolution has meant The Scottish Office's powers were divided, with most transferred to the new Scottish Executive or to other UK Government Departments, leaving only limited role for the new Scotland Office. Consequently the role of Secretary of State for Scotland has been diminished. The current incumbent, Alastair Darling holds the post whilst simultaneously (and separately) being Secretary of State for Transport.


Secretary of State in Scotland after the Union

Secretaries of State for Scotland 1707-1746

Secretaries for Scotland

Secretaries of State for Scotland

Last updated: 05-21-2005 13:56:46