Secretary of State for Defence

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Defence (Defence Secretary) is an official within Her Majesty's Government and head of the Ministry of Defence. The office is a British Cabinet–level position.

The post was created in 1964 as successor to the posts of Minister for Coordination of Defence (1936–1940) and Minister of Defence (1940–1964). It replaced the positions of First Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for War, and Secretary of State for Air, as the Admiralty, War Office and Air Ministry were merged into the Ministry of Defence (the Secretary of State for War had already ceased to be a cabinet position in 1946, with the creation of the cabinet-level Minister of Defence).

Secretary of State for Defence
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government)
Flag of the British Secretary of State for Defence
Official portrait of Gavin Williamson
Incumbent
Gavin Williamson

since 2 November 2017
Ministry of Defence
StyleDefence Secretary
(informal)
The Right Honourable
(within the UK and the Commonwealth)
Member of
Reports toPrime Minister of the United Kingdom
SeatWestminster, London
AppointerThe Monarch
on advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthNo fixed term
Formation1 April 1964
First holderPeter Thorneycroft
DeputyMinister of State for the Armed Forces
Websitewww.gov.uk

List of office holders

Ministers for Co-ordination of Defence (1936–1940)

The position of Minister for Co-ordination of Defence was a British Cabinet-level position established in 1936 to oversee and co-ordinate the rearmament of Britain's defences.

The position was established by the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin in response to criticism that Britain's armed forces were understrength compared to those of Nazi Germany. This campaign had been led by Winston Churchill and many expected him to be appointed as the new minister, though nearly every other senior figure in the National Government was also speculated upon by politicians and commentators. Despite this, Baldwin's choice of the Attorney General Sir Thomas Inskip provoked widespread astonishment. A famous comment made in response to Inskip's appointment was "This is the most cynical appointment since Caligula made his horse a consul".[1] The appointment is now regarded as a sign of caution by Baldwin who did not wish to appoint someone like Churchill who would have been interpreted by foreign powers as a sign of the United Kingdom preparing for war, as well as a desire to avoid taking on board a controversial and radical minister.

In 1939 Inskip was succeeded by First Sea Lord Lord Chatfield. When the Second World War broke out, the new Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain formed a small War Cabinet and it was expected that Chatfield would serve as a spokesperson for the three service ministers, the Secretary of State for War, the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Secretary of State for Air; however, political considerations resulted in all three posts being included in the Cabinet, and Chatfield's role proved increasingly redundant. In April 1940 the position was formally wound up and the functions transferred to other Ministers.

Minister for Co-ordination of Defence
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Ministry
Thomas Inskip The Right Honourable
Sir Thomas Inskip
CBE KC

MP for Fareham
(1876–1947)
13 March
1936
29 January
1939
Conservative National III
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)
National IV
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)
Echatfield The Right Honourable
Ernle Chatfield
1st Baron Chatfield
GCB OM KCMG CVO PC

(1873–1967)
29 January
1939
3 April
1940
Independent
(National)
Chamberlain War
(Con.N.Lab.Lib.N.)

Ministers of Defence (1940–1964)

The post of Minister of Defence was responsible for co-ordination of defence and security from its creation in 1940 until its abolition in 1964. The post was a Cabinet level post and generally ranked above the three service ministers, some of whom, however, continued to also serve in Cabinet.

On his appointment as Prime Minister in May 1940, Winston Churchill created for himself the new post of Minister of Defence. The post was created in response to previous criticism that there had been no clear single minister in charge of the prosecution of World War II. In 1946, the post became the only cabinet-level post representing the military, with the three service ministers – the Secretary of State for War, the First Lord of the Admiralty, and the Secretary of State for Air, now formally subordinated to the Minister of Defence.

Minister of Defence
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Ministry
Churchill1944 The Right Honourable
Winston Churchill
CH TD FRS

MP for Epping
(1874–1965)
10 May
1940
27 July
1945
Conservative Churchill War
(All parties)
Churchill Caretaker
(Con.N.Lib.)
Clement Attlee The Right Honourable
Clement Attlee
CH

MP for Limehouse
(1883–1967)
27 July
1945
20 December
1946
Labour Attlee
(I & II)
INF3-62 A V Alexander Artist's signature E A B The Right Honourable
A. V. Alexander
CH

MP for Sheffield Hillsborough
(1885–1965)
20 December
1946
28 February
1950
Labour
(Co-op)
Emanuel Shinwel HU 059765 (crop) The Right Honourable
Emanuel Shinwell

MP for Easington
(1884–1986)
28 February
1950
26 October
1951
Labour
Churchill portrait NYP 45063 The Right Honourable
Winston Churchill
OM CH TD DL FRS RA

MP for Woodford
(1874–1965)
28 October
1951
1 March
1952
Conservative Churchill III
Sir Harold Alexander 026065 Field Marshall The Right Honourable
Harold Alexander
1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
KG GCB GCMG CSI DSO MC CD PC

(1891–1969)
1 March
1952
18 October
1954
Independent
Harold Macmillan in 1942 The Right Honourable
Harold Macmillan

MP for Bromley
(1894–1986)
18 October
1954
7 April
1955
Conservative
Selwyn Lloyd cropped The Right Honourable
Selwyn Lloyd
CBE QC

MP for Wirral
(1904–1978)
7 April
1955
20 December
1955
Conservative Eden
Walter Monckton cropped The Right Honourable
Sir Walter Monckton
GCVO KCMG MC

MP for Bristol West
(1891–1965)
20 December
1955
18 October
1956
Conservative
Antony Head The Right Honourable
Antony Head
MC

MP for Carshalton
(1906–1983)
18 October
1956
9 January
1957
Conservative
Duncansandys The Right Honourable
Duncan Sandys

MP for Streatham
(1908–1987)
13 January
1957
14 October
1959
Conservative Macmillan
(I & II)
The Right Honourable
Harold Watkinson

MP for Woking
(1910–1995)
14 October
1959
13 July
1962
Conservative
Peter Thornycroft The Right Honourable
Peter Thorneycroft

MP for Monmouth
(1909–1994)
13 July
1962
1 April
1964
Conservative
Douglas-Home

Secretaries of State for Defence (1964–present)

The post of Secretary of State for Defence was created on 1 April 1964. The former Cabinet positions of First Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air (responsible for the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force respectively) were incorporated into it and the offices of the Admiralty, War Office and the Air Ministry were abolished and their functions transferred to an expanded Ministry of Defence.

Secretary of State for Defence
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Party Ministry Ref.
Peter Thornycroft The Right Honourable
Peter Thorneycroft

MP for Monmouth
(1909–1994)
1 April
1964
16 October
1964
Conservative Douglas-Home [2]
Denis Healey The Right Honourable
Denis Healey
MBE

MP for Leeds East
(1917–2015)
16 October
1964
19 June
1970
Labour Wilson
(I & II)
[3]
Peter Carington 1984 The Right Honourable
Peter Carrington
6th Baron Carrington
KCMG MC PC DL

(1919-2018)
20 June
1970
8 January
1974
Conservative Heath
The Right Honourable
Ian Gilmour

MP for Central Norfolk
(1926–2007)
8 January
1974
4 March
1974
Conservative [4]
No image The Right Honourable
Roy Mason

MP for Barnsley
(1924–2015)
5 March
1974
10 September
1976
Labour Wilson
(III & IV)
[5]
Fred Mulley The Right Honourable
Fred Mulley

MP for Sheffield Park
(1918–1995)
10 September
1976
4 May
1979
Labour Callaghan [6]
Zconcam61 The Right Honourable
Francis Pym
MC

MP for Cambridgeshire
(1922–2008)
5 May
1979
5 January
1981
Conservative Thatcher I [7]
No image The Right Honourable
John Nott

MP for St Ives
(born 1932)
5 January
1981
6 January
1983
Conservative [8]
Lord Heseltine, Deputy Prime Minister, UK (1995-97) (10559130986) The Right Honourable
Michael Heseltine

MP for Henley
(born 1933)
6 January
1983
7 January
1986
Conservative Thatcher II [9]
George Younger.JPEG The Right Honourable
George Younger
TD

MP for Ayr
(1931–2003)
7 January
1986
24 July
1989
Conservative [10]
[11]
Thatcher III
Official portrait of Lord King of Bridgwater crop 2 The Right Honourable
Tom King

MP for Bridgwater
(born 1933)
24 July
1989
10 April
1992
Conservative [12]
Major I
Malcolm Rifkind The Right Honourable
Malcolm Rifkind
QC

MP for Edinburgh Pentlands
(born 1946)
10 April
1992
5 July
1995
Conservative Major II [13]
Michael Portillo by Regents College cropped The Right Honourable
Michael Portillo

MP for Enfield Southgate
(born 1953)
5 July
1995
2 May
1997
Conservative [14]
Official portrait of Lord Robertson of Port Ellen crop 2 The Right Honourable
George Robertson

MP for Hamilton South
(born 1946)
3 May
1997
11 October
1999
Labour Blair
(I–III)
[15]
Geoff Hoon Headshot The Right Honourable
Geoff Hoon

MP for Ashfield
(born 1953)
11 October
1999
6 May
2005
Labour [16]
ReidTaormina crop The Right Honourable
John Reid

MP for Airdrie and Shotts
(born 1947)
6 May
2005
5 May
2006
Labour [17]
Official portrait of Lord Browne of Ladyton crop 2 The Right Honourable
Des Browne

MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
(born 1952)
5 May
2006
3 October
2008
Labour [18]
Brown
Msc 2009-Sunday, 11.00 - 12.30 Uhr-Zwez 005 Hutton detail The Right Honourable
John Hutton

MP for Barrow and Furness
(born 1955)
3 October
2008
5 June
2009
Labour [19]
Bob Ainsworth cropped The Right Honourable
Bob Ainsworth

MP for Coventry North East
(born 1952)
5 June
2009
11 May
2010
Labour [20]
Official portrait of Dr Liam Fox crop 2 The Right Honourable
Liam Fox

MP for North Somerset
(born 1961)
11 May
2010
14 October
2011
Conservative Cameron–Clegg
(Con.L.D.)
[21]
[22]
Official portrait of Mr Philip Hammond crop 2 The Right Honourable
Philip Hammond

MP for Runnymede and Weybridge
(born 1955)
14 October
2011
15 July
2014
Conservative [23]
[24]
Official portrait of Sir Michael Fallon crop 2 The Right Honourable
Sir Michael Fallon
KCB

MP for Sevenoaks
(born 1952)
15 July
2014
1 November
2017
Conservative [25]
[26]
Cameron II
May I
May II
Official portrait of Gavin Williamson crop 2 The Right Honourable
Gavin Williamson
CBE

MP for South Staffordshire
(born 1976)
2 November
2017
Incumbent Conservative [27]
[28]

References

  1. ^ This quote has been made on many occasions and the original source is unclear. The highly influential polemic Guilty Men (whose relevant chapter is entitled "Caligula's Horse") attributes it to a "great statesman" (page 74), whom some have surmised was Churchill. However Stewart, Graham Burying Caesar: Churchill, Chamberlain and the Battle for the Tory Party (London; Phoenix, 1999) (ISBN 0-7538-1060-3), page 487 attributes the originator of the quote to Churchill's non-politician friend Professor Frederick Lindemann.
  2. ^ "Mr Peter Thorneycroft". Hansard 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Lord Healey". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Lord Gilmour of Craigmillar". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Lord Mason of Barnsley". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Lord Mulley". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Lord Pym". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Rt Hon Sir John Nott". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Lord Heseltine". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Rt Hon Sir George Younger". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  11. ^ George Jones (27 January 2003). "Thatcher's ally George Younger dies at 71". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  12. ^ "Lord King of Bridgwater". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Rt Hon Michael Portillo". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Lord Robertson of Port Ellen". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Mr Geoffrey Hoon". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Lord Reid of Cardowan". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  18. ^ "Lord Browne of Ladyton". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  19. ^ "Lord Hutton of Furness". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  20. ^ "Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  21. ^ "Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  22. ^ "Who's who in the coalition cabinet". The Guardian. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  24. ^ "Liam Fox quits as defence secretary". BBC News. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  25. ^ "Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  26. ^ "Reshuffle at-a-glance: In, out and moved about". BBC News. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  27. ^ "Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  28. ^ "Gavin Williamson replaces Michael Fallon as defence secretary". BBC News. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.

External links

Admiralty Board (United Kingdom)

The Admiralty Board is the body established under the Defence Council of the United Kingdom for the administration of the Naval Service of the United Kingdom. It meets formally only once a year, and the day-to-day running of the Royal Navy is conducted by the Navy Board, which does not include any ministers.

The Admiralty Board was established with the abolition of the Board of Admiralty and the integration of the three service ministries into the Ministry of Defence.

The board is chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence and includes the professional heads of the navy, as well as various ministers and civil servants of the Ministry of Defence.

Army Board

The Army Board is the top single-service management committee of the British Army, and has always been staffed by senior politicians and soldiers. Until 1964 it was known as the Army Council.

Army Sergeant Major

The Army Sergeant Major is the most senior member of the other ranks of the British Army. The appointment holder has the rank of Warrant Officer Class One. The appointment was created as part of the changes to the British Army's top ranks around February 2015. The holder will sit on the Executive Committee of the Army Board (ECAB) and work with the Secretary of State for Defence, top civil servants and other high-ranking members to shape British Army policy. The first appointment was made in March 2015.The Army Sergeant Major wears the Warrant Officer Class 1's usual rank badge within a wreath.

Bob Ainsworth

Robert William Ainsworth (born 19 June 1952) is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Coventry North East from 1992 to 2015, and was the Secretary of State for Defence from 2009 to 2010. Following the general election in 2010 he was the Shadow Defence Secretary, but was replaced by Jim Murphy following the election of new Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Chief of the Defence Staff (United Kingdom)

The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) is the professional head of the British Armed Forces and the most senior uniformed military adviser to the Secretary of State for Defence and the Prime Minister. The Chief of the Defence Staff is based at the Ministry of Defence and works alongside the Permanent Under Secretary, the Ministry's senior civil servant. The Chief of the Defence Staff is the British equivalent position of what in NATO and the European Union is known as the Chief of Defence.

Constitutionally, the Sovereign is the de jure Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. However, in practice, the British Government de facto exercises the royal prerogative and provides direction of the Armed Forces through the Ministry of Defence's Defence Council of which the Chief of the Defence Staff is a member.

The current Chief of the Defence Staff is General Sir Nick Carter, who succeeded Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach in June 2018. Chiefs of the Defence Staff are appointed on the recommendation of the Secretary of State for Defence to the Prime Minister before being approved by the Queen.

Defence Council of the United Kingdom

The Defence Council of the United Kingdom is the body legally entrusted with the defence of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories and with control over the British armed forces, and is part of the Ministry of Defence.

Dreadnought-class submarine

The Dreadnought class is the future replacement for the Vanguard class of ballistic missile submarines. Like their predecessors they will carry Trident II D-5 missiles. The Vanguard submarines entered service in the United Kingdom in the 1990s with an intended service life of 25 years. Their replacement is necessary if the Royal Navy is to maintain a continuous at-sea deterrent (CASD), the principle of operation behind the Trident system.Provisionally named Successor class, it was officially announced on 21 October 2016 (to mark Trafalgar Day) that the first of class would be named Dreadnought, and that the class would be the Dreadnought class. The next three boats will also be given names with "historical resonance". On 6 December 2018, the second boat of this class was named by the Secretary of State for Defence as HMS Valiant. On 25 February 2019, the third boat of this class was named by the Secretary of State for Defence as HMS Warspite.

Ian Gilmour, Baron Gilmour of Craigmillar

Ian Hedworth John Little Gilmour, Baron Gilmour of Craigmillar, (8 July 1926 – 21 September 2007) was a Conservative politician in the United Kingdom. He was styled Sir Ian Gilmour, 3rd Baronet from 1977, having succeeded to his father's baronetcy, until he became a life peer in 1992. He served as Secretary of State for Defence in 1974, in the government of Edward Heath. He also served in the government of Margaret Thatcher, as Lord Privy Seal from 1979 to 1981.

Michael Fallon

Sir Michael Cathel Fallon (born 14 May 1952) is a British politician of the Conservative Party serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sevenoaks since 1997. From 2014 to 2017, he was Secretary of State for Defence and a member of the National Security Council. He was previously Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party (2010–2012), Minister of State for Business and Enterprise (2012–2014), Minister of State for Energy (2013–2014), and Minister of State for Portsmouth (2014).

Minister of State for the Armed Forces

The Minister of State for the Armed Forces is a high-ranking ministerial position, subordinate only to the Secretary of State for Defence, at the Ministry of Defence in Her Majesty's Government.

The post is currently held by Col Mark Lancaster, in the Second May ministry.

Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD or MoD) is the British government department responsible for implementing the defence policy set by Her Majesty's Government and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces.

The MOD states that its principal objectives are to defend the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and its interests and to strengthen international peace and stability. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the MOD does not foresee any short-term conventional military threat; rather, it has identified weapons of mass destruction, international terrorism, and failed and failing states as the overriding threats to Britain's interests. The MOD also manages day-to-day running of the armed forces, contingency planning and defence procurement.

Peter Thorneycroft

George Edward Peter Thorneycroft, Baron Thorneycroft, (26 July 1909 – 4 June 1994) was a British Conservative Party politician. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1957 and 1958.

Philip Hammond

Philip Anthony Hammond (born 4 December 1955) is a British Conservative politician serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer since 2016 and the Member of Parliament (MP) for Runnymede and Weybridge since 1997.

Hammond was born in Epping, Essex, and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at University College, Oxford. He worked from 1984 as a company director at Castlemead Ltd – a healthcare and nursing company. From 1995-97 he acted as an adviser to the government of Malawi before his election to Parliament. He was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet by David Cameron in 2005 as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, remaining in this position until a 2007 reshuffle when he became Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

After the formation of the Coalition Government in May 2010, he was appointed Secretary of State for Transport and was sworn of the Privy Council. Upon the resignation of Liam Fox over a scandal in October 2011, Hammond was promoted to replace him as Secretary of State for Defence, before being further promoted in July 2014 to become Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.In July 2016, after Theresa May succeeded Cameron as Prime Minister, Hammond was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. As Chancellor, Hammond has suggested that the government may begin a reduction in austerity measures.

Roy Mason

Roy Mason, Baron Mason of Barnsley, (18 April 1924 – 19 April 2015) was a British Labour politician and Cabinet minister who was Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in the late 1970s.

Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

The Shadow Secretary of State for Defence is a member of the UK Shadow Cabinet responsible for the scrutiny of the Secretary of State for Defence and the department, the Ministry of Defence. The post is currently held by Nia Griffith.

Sirdar v The Army Board

Sirdar v The Army Board (1999) C-273/97 is a UK labour law case concerning genuine occupational requirements for a job.

Type 22 frigate

The Type 22 Broadsword class was a class of frigate built for the British Royal Navy. Fourteen of the class were built in total, with production divided into three batches. HMS Cornwall was the last Royal Navy Type 22 frigate, retired from service on 30 June 2011.Seven ships of the earlier batches have been sold to Brazil, Romania and Chile. Five of these remain in service and one was sold for scrap. Of the decommissioned vessels, three were sunk as targets, and five sold for scrap.

Type 42 destroyer

The Type 42 or Sheffield class, was a class of fourteen light guided missile destroyers that served in the Royal Navy. A further two ships of this class were built for and served with the Argentine Navy.

The first ship of the class was ordered in 1968 and launched in 1971. Two of the class (Sheffield and Coventry) were sunk in action during the Falklands War of 1982. The Royal Navy used this class of destroyer for 38 years between 1975 and 2013.

No ships of this class remain active in the Royal Navy and just one remains in the Argentine Navy. The Royal Navy has replaced them with Type 45 destroyers.

Vernon Coaker

Vernon Rodney Coaker (born 17 June 1953) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Gedling since 1997. He also served as the Minister of State for Schools from 2009 to 2010, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence from 2013 to 2015 and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from October 2011 to October 2013, and again from September 2015 until his resignation in June 2016 from the Shadow Cabinet.

Defence Secretaries of the United Kingdom
Minister for Co-ordination of Defence
Ministers for Defence
Secretaries of State for Defence
Armed Forces
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