Home Secretary

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United Kingdom
Secretary of State
for the Home Department
Royal Arms as used by the Home Office
James Cleverly
since 13 November 2023
Home Office
StyleHome Secretary
The Right Honourable
(within the UK and Commonwealth)
TypeMinister of the Crown
StatusSecretary of State
Great Office of State
Member of
Reports toThe Prime Minister
NominatorThe Prime Minister
AppointerThe Monarch
(on the advice of the Prime Minister)
Term lengthAt His Majesty's pleasure
Formation27 March 1782
First holderEarl of Shelburne
Salary£159,038 per annum (2022)[1]
(including £86,584 MP salary)[2]
WebsiteHome Secretary

The secretary of state for the Home Department, more commonly known as the home secretary, is a senior minister of the Crown in the Government of the United Kingdom and the head of the Home Office.[3] The position is a Great Office of State, making the home secretary one of the most senior and influential ministers in the government. The incumbent is a statutory member of the British Cabinet and National Security Council.

The position, which may be known as interior minister in other nations, was created in 1782,[4] though its responsibilities have changed many times.[5] Past office holders have included the prime ministers Lord North, Robert Peel, the Duke of Wellington, Lord Palmerston, Winston Churchill, James Callaghan and Theresa May. The longest-serving home secretary is Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, who held the post continuously for 9 years, 221 days.[6] The shortest-serving home secretary is Grant Shapps, who served in the position for the final six days of the premiership of Liz Truss. In 2007, Jacqui Smith became the first female home secretary.[7] The incumbent home secretary is James Cleverly.

The office holder works alongside the other Home Office ministers and the permanent under-secretary of state of the Home Office. The corresponding shadow minister is the shadow home secretary, and the performance of the home secretary is also scrutinized by the Home Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons[8] and the Justice and Home Affairs Committee in the House of Lords.[9]


Corresponding to what is generally known as an interior minister in many other countries, the home secretary's remit includes:

Formerly, the home secretary was the minister responsible for prisons and probation in England and Wales; however in 2007 those responsibilities were transferred to the Ministry of Justice under the lord chancellor.


The title Secretary of State in the government of England dates back to the early 17th century.[10] The position of Secretary of State for the Home Department was created in the British governmental reorganisation of 1782, in which the responsibilities of the Northern and Southern Departments were reformed into the Foreign Office and Home Office.[10]

In 2007, the new Ministry of Justice took on the criminal justice functions of the Home Office and its agencies.[11]

List of home secretaries[edit]

Secretary of State for the Home Department[3]
Including constituencies for elected MPs.
Term of office Party Ministry Monarch
William Petty
2nd Earl of Shelburne
27 March 1782 10 July 1782 Whig Rockingham II George III

[note 1]
Thomas Townsend[12]
MP for Whitchurch
10 July 1782 2 April 1783 Whig Shelburne
Frederick North
Lord North
MP for Banbury
2 April 1783 19 December 1783 Tory Fox–North
George Nugent-Temple-Grenville
3rd Earl Temple
19 December 1783 23 December 1783 Tory Pitt I
Thomas Townsend
1st Baron Sydney
23 December 1783 5 June 1789 Whig
William Grenville
1st Baron Grenville
MP for Buckinghamshire[note 2]
5 June 1789 8 June 1791 Tory
Henry Dundas[12]
MP for Edinburgh
8 June 1791 11 July 1794 Tory
William Cavendish-Bentinck
3rd Duke of Portland
11 July 1794 30 July 1801 Tory
Thomas Pelham
4th Baron Pelham of Stanmer
30 July 1801 17 August 1803 Whig
Charles Philip Yorke[12]
MP for Cambridgeshire
17 August 1803 12 May 1804 Tory
Robert Jenkinson
2nd Baron Hawkesbury
12 May 1804 5 February 1806 Tory Pitt II
George Spencer
2nd Earl Spencer
5 February 1806 25 March 1807 Whig All the Talents
Robert Jenkinson
2nd Earl of Liverpool
25 March 1807 1 November 1809 Tory Portland II
Richard Ryder[12]
MP for Tiverton
1 November 1809 8 June 1812 Tory Perceval
Henry Addington
1st Viscount Sidmouth
11 June 1812 17 January 1822 Tory Liverpool
George IV

Robert Peel[12]
MP for Oxford University
17 January 1822 10 April 1827 Tory
William Sturges Bourne[12]
MP for Ashburton
30 April 1827 16 July 1827 Tory Canning
Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice
3rd Marquess of Lansdowne
16 July 1827 22 January 1828 Whig
Robert Peel[12]
MP for 3 constituencies respectively
26 January 1828 22 November 1830 Tory Wellington–Peel
William IV

William Lamb
2nd Viscount Melbourne
22 November 1830 16 July 1834 Whig Grey
John Ponsonby
1st Baron Duncannon
19 July 1834 15 November 1834 Whig Melbourne I
Arthur Wellesley
1st Duke of Wellington
15 November 1834 15 December 1834 Tory Wellington Caretaker
Henry Goulburn[12]
MP for Cambridge University
15 December 1834 18 April 1835 Conservative Peel I
Lord John Russell[13]
MP for Stroud
18 April 1835 30 August 1839 Whig Melbourne II

Constantine Phipps
1st Marquess of Normanby
30 August 1839 30 August 1841 Whig
James Graham[13]
MP for Dorchester
6 September 1841 30 June 1846 Conservative Peel II
George Grey[13]
8 July 1846 23 February 1852 Whig Russell I
Spencer Horatio Walpole[13]
MP for Midhurst
27 February 1852 19 December 1852 Conservative Who? Who?
Henry John Temple
3rd Viscount Palmerston
MP for Tiverton
28 December 1852 6 February 1855 Whig Aberdeen
George Grey[13]
MP for Morpeth
8 February 1855 26 February 1858 Whig Palmerston I
Spencer Horatio Walpole[13]
MP for Cambridge University
26 February 1858 3 March 1859 Conservative Derby–Disraeli II
Thomas Henry Sutton Sotheron-Estcourt[13]
MP for North Wiltshire
3 March 1859 18 June 1859 Conservative
George Cornewall Lewis[13]
MP for Radnor
18 June 1859 25 July 1861 Liberal Palmerston II
George Grey[13]
MP for Morpeth
25 July 1861 28 June 1866 Liberal
Russell II
Spencer Horatio Walpole[13]
MP for Cambridge University
6 July 1866 17 May 1867 Conservative Derby–Disraeli III
Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy[13]
MP for Oxford University
17 May 1867 3 December 1868 Conservative
Henry Bruce[13]
9 December 1868 9 August 1873 Liberal Gladstone I
Robert Lowe[13]
MP for London University
9 August 1873 20 February 1874 Liberal
R. A. Cross[13]
MP for South West Lancashire
21 February 1874 23 April 1880 Conservative Disraeli II
William Harcourt[13]
MP for Derby
28 April 1880 23 June 1885 Liberal Gladstone II
R. A. Cross[13]
MP for Newton
24 June 1885 1 February 1886 Conservative Salisbury I
Hugh Childers[13]
MP for Edinburgh South
6 February 1886 25 July 1886 Liberal Gladstone III
Henry Matthews[13]
MP for Birmingham East
3 August 1886 15 August 1892 Conservative Salisbury II
H. H. Asquith[13]
MP for East Fife
18 August 1892 25 June 1895 Liberal Gladstone IV
Matthew White Ridley[13]
MP for Blackpool
29 June 1895 12 November 1900 Conservative Salisbury
(III & IV)

Charles Ritchie[13]
MP for Croydon
12 November 1900 11 August 1902 Conservative
Edward VII

Aretas Akers-Douglas[13]
MP for St Augustine's
11 August 1902 5 December 1905 Conservative
Herbert Gladstone[13]
MP for Leeds West
11 December 1905 19 February 1910 Liberal Campbell-Bannerman
Winston Churchill[13]
MP for Dundee
19 February 1910 24 October 1911 Liberal
George V

Reginald McKenna[13]
MP for North Monmouthshire
24 October 1911 27 May 1915 Liberal
John Simon[13]
MP for Walthamstow
27 May 1915 12 January 1916 Liberal Asquith Coalition
(Lib.Con.–et al.)
Herbert Samuel[13]
MP for Cleveland
12 January 1916 7 December 1916 Liberal
George Cave
1st Viscount Cave
MP for Kingston[note 5]
11 December 1916 14 January 1919 Conservative Lloyd George
(I & II)
Edward Shortt[13]
MP for Newcastle upon Tyne West
14 January 1919 23 October 1922 Liberal
William Bridgeman[13]
MP for Oswestry
25 October 1922 22 January 1924 Conservative Law
Baldwin I
Arthur Henderson[13]
MP for Burnley[note 6]
23 January 1924 4 November 1924 Labour MacDonald I
William Joynson-Hicks[13]
MP for Twickenham
7 November 1924 5 June 1929 Conservative Baldwin II
John Robert Clynes[13]
MP for Manchester Platting
8 June 1929 26 August 1931 Labour MacDonald II
Herbert Samuel[13]
MP for Darwen
26 August 1931 1 October 1932 Liberal National I
(N.Lab.Con.–et al.)
National II
John Gilmour[13]
MP for Glasgow Pollok
1 October 1932 7 June 1935 Unionist
John Simon[13]
MP for Spen Valley
7 June 1935 28 May 1937 Liberal National National III
(Con.N.Lab.–et al.)
Edward VIII

George VI

Samuel Hoare[13]
MP for Chelsea
28 May 1937 3 September 1939 Conservative National IV
John Anderson[13]
MP for Combined Scottish Universities
4 September 1939 4 October 1940 Independent
Chamberlain War
Churchill War
(All parties)
Herbert Morrison[13]
MP for Hackney South
4 October 1940 23 May 1945 Labour
Donald Somervell[13]
MP for Crewe
25 May 1945 26 July 1945 Conservative Churchill Caretaker
James Chuter Ede[13]
MP for South Shields
3 August 1945 26 October 1951 Labour Attlee
(I & II)
David Maxwell Fyfe[13]
MP for Liverpool West Derby
27 October 1951 19 October 1954 Conservative Churchill III
Elizabeth II

Gwilym Lloyd George[13]
MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North
19 October 1954 14 January 1957 National Liberal
Rab Butler[13]
MP for Saffron Walden
14 January 1957 13 July 1962 Conservative Macmillan
(I & II)
Henry Brooke[13]
MP for Hampstead
14 July 1962 16 October 1964 Conservative
Frank Soskice[13]
MP for Newport
18 October 1964 23 December 1965 Labour Wilson
(I & II)
Roy Jenkins[13]
MP for Birmingham Stechford
23 December 1965 30 November 1967 Labour
James Callaghan[13]
MP for Cardiff South East
30 November 1967 19 June 1970 Labour
Reginald Maudling[13]
MP for Barnet
20 June 1970 18 July 1972 Conservative Heath
Robert Carr[13]
MP for Carshalton
18 July 1972 4 March 1974 Conservative
Roy Jenkins[13]
MP for Birmingham Stechford
5 March 1974 10 September 1976 Labour Wilson
(III & IV)
Merlyn Rees[13]
MP for Leeds South
10 September 1976 4 May 1979 Labour
William Whitelaw[13]
MP for Penrith and The Border
4 May 1979 11 June 1983 Conservative Thatcher I
Leon Brittan[13]
MP for Richmond (Yorks)
11 June 1983 2 September 1985 Conservative Thatcher II
Douglas Hurd[13]
MP for Witney
2 September 1985 26 October 1989 Conservative
Thatcher III
David Waddington[13]
MP for Ribble Valley
26 October 1989 28 November 1990 Conservative
Kenneth Baker[13]
MP for Mole Valley
28 November 1990 10 April 1992 Conservative Major I
Kenneth Clarke[13]
MP for Rushcliffe
10 April 1992 27 May 1993 Conservative Major II
Michael Howard[13]
MP for Folkestone and Hythe
27 May 1993 2 May 1997 Conservative
Jack Straw[13]
MP for Blackburn
2 May 1997 8 June 2001 Labour Blair I
David Blunkett[13]
MP for Sheffield Brightside
8 June 2001 15 December 2004 Labour Blair II
Charles Clarke[13]
MP for Norwich South
15 December 2004 5 May 2006 Labour
Blair III
John Reid[14]
MP for Airdrie and Shotts
5 May 2006 27 June 2007 Labour
Jacqui Smith[15]
MP for Redditch
28 June 2007 5 June 2009 Labour Brown
Alan Johnson[16]
MP for Hull West and Hessle
5 June 2009 11 May 2010 Labour
Theresa May[17]
MP for Maidenhead
12 May 2010 13 July 2016 Conservative Cameron–Clegg
May's tenure as Home Secretary Cameron II
Amber Rudd[18]
MP for Hastings and Rye
13 July 2016 29 April 2018 Conservative May I
May II
Sajid Javid[19]
MP for Bromsgrove
30 April 2018 24 July 2019 Conservative
Priti Patel[20]
MP for Witham
24 July 2019 6 September 2022 Conservative Johnson I
Johnson II
Suella Braverman[21]
MP for Fareham
6 September 2022 19 October 2022 Conservative Truss
Charles III

Grant Shapps[22]
MP for Welwyn Hatfield
19 October 2022 25 October 2022 Conservative
Suella Braverman[23]
MP for Fareham
25 October 2022 13 November 2023 Conservative Sunak
James Cleverly[24]
MP for Braintree
13 November 2023 Incumbent Conservative


James CleverlyGrant ShappsSuella BravermanPriti PatelSajid JavidAmber RuddTheresa MayAlan JohnsonJacqui SmithJohn Reid, Baron Reid of CardowanCharles ClarkeDavid BlunkettJack StrawMichael HowardKenneth ClarkeKenneth Baker, Baron Baker of DorkingDavid WaddingtonDouglas HurdLeon BrittanWilliam WhitelawMerlyn ReesRobert CarrReginald MaudlingJames CallaghanRoy JenkinsFrank SoskiceHenry Brooke, Baron Brooke of CumnorRab ButlerGwilym Lloyd GeorgeDavid Maxwell FyfeJames Chuter EdeDonald SomervellHerbert MorrisonJohn Anderson, 1st Viscount WaverleySamuel Hoare, 1st Viscount TemplewoodSir John Gilmour, 2nd BaronetJohn Robert ClynesWilliam Joynson-HicksArthur HendersonWilliam Bridgeman, 1st Viscount BridgemanEdward ShorttGeorge Cave, 1st Viscount CaveHerbert SamuelJohn Simon, 1st Viscount SimonReginald McKennaWinston ChurchillHerbert GladstoneAretas Akers-DouglasCharles RitchieMatthew White RidleyH. H. AsquithHenry Matthews, 1st Viscount LlandaffHugh ChildersWilliam Harcourt (politician)R. A. Cross, 1st Viscount CrossRobert LoweHenry Bruce, 1st Baron AberdareGathorne Gathorne-Hardy, 1st Earl of CranbrookGeorge Cornewall LewisT. H. S. Sotheron-EstcourtHenry John Temple, 3rd Viscount PalmerstonSpencer Horatio WalpoleGeorge Grey, 2nd BaronetSir James Graham, 2nd BaronetConstantine Phipps, 1st Marquess of NormanbyJohn Russell, 1st Earl RussellHenry GoulburnArthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of WellingtonJohn Ponsonby, 4th Earl of BessboroughWilliam Lamb, 2nd Viscount MelbourneHenry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of LansdowneWilliam Sturges BourneRobert PeelHenry Addington, 1st Viscount SidmouthRichard Ryder (politician, born 1766)George Spencer, 2nd Earl SpencerRobert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of LiverpoolCharles Philip YorkeThomas Pelham, 2nd Earl of ChichesterWilliam Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of PortlandHenry DundasWilliam Grenville, 1st Baron GrenvilleGeorge Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of BuckinghamFrederick North, Lord NorthThomas Townshend, 1st Viscount SydneyWilliam Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Prince of Wales served as prince regent from 5 February 1811.
  2. ^ Elevated to the Peerage of Great Britain in 1790.
  3. ^ Elected to a new constituency in the 1847 general election.
  4. ^ Lost seat in the 1868 general election and elected to a new constituency in the Renfrewshire by-election.
  5. ^ Ennobled on the day of the 1918 election, which he did not contest. His rank did not entitle him to a seat in the House of Lords.
  6. ^ Elected on 28 February 1924 in the Burnley by-election.



  1. ^ "Salaries of Members of His Majesty's Government – Financial Year 2022–23" (PDF). 15 December 2022.
  2. ^ "Pay and expenses for MPs". parliament.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Secretary of State for the Home Department". gov.uk. Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  4. ^ "The Cabinet Papers: Senior Cabinet posts". The National Archives. Retrieved 3 July 2021. The post of Home Secretary was created in 1782 with the formation of the Home Office
  5. ^ "Records created or inherited by the Home Office, Ministry of Home Security, and related bodies". The National Archives. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  6. ^ Reginald Beer (15 January 2019). "Henry Addington was a Prime Minister and an 'East Indiaman'". Retrieved 8 March 2024.
  7. ^ "First female boss for Home Office". BBC News. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2021. Jacqui Smith has become Britain's first female home secretary
  8. ^ "The work of the Home Secretary". Parliament.UK. Archived from the original on 24 September 2020. Retrieved 21 February 2022. The Committee holds regular evidence sessions with the Home Secretary, the Permanent Secretary and other officials to ask questions about the policies and priorities of the department.
  9. ^ "Home Secretary Priti Patel to appear before Lords Committee". Parliament.UK. 26 October 2021. Archived from the original on 27 October 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2022. The Justice and Home Affairs Committee will be questioning the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP.
  10. ^ a b Sainty, J. C. (1973). "Introduction". Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 2 – Officials of the Secretaries of State 1660–1782. University of London. pp. 1–21 – via British History Online. At the Restoration [in 1660] the practice of appointing two Secretaries of State, which was well established before the Civil War, was resumed. Apart from the modifications which were made necessary by the occasional existence of a third secretaryship, the organisation of the secretariat underwent no fundamental change from that time until the reforms of 1782 which resulted in the emergence of the Home and Foreign departments. ... English domestic affairs remained the responsibility of both Secretaries throughout the period. In the field of foreign affairs there was a division into a Northern and a Southern Department, each of which was the responsibility of one Secretary. The distinction between the two departments emerged only gradually. It was not until after 1689 that their names passed into general currency. Nevertheless the division of foreign business itself can, in its broad outlines, be detected in the early years of the reign of Charles II.
  11. ^ House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee (17 July 2007). "The creation of the Ministry of Justice" (PDF). parliament.uk. p. 3. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Gibson 2008.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm "Home Secretary". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Clarke is fired in Cabinet purge". BBC News. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  15. ^ "First female boss for Home Office". BBC News. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Hutton quits in cabinet reshuffle". BBC News. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Cameron coalition: Theresa May made home secretary". BBC News. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  18. ^ "Theresa May shakes up government with new-look cabinet". BBC News. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  19. ^ "Sajid Javid announced as new Home Secretary after Amber Rudd's resignation". Sky News. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Priti Patel appointed UK interior minister: statement". Reuters. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  21. ^ "Suella Braverman MP on Twitter: My letter to the Prime Minister". Twitter. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  22. ^ "Grants Shapps replaces Suella Braverman as home secretary". BBC News. 19 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  23. ^ "Braverman returns to home secretary role". BBC News. 25 October 2022. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  24. ^ "Braverman returns to home secretary role". BBC News. 25 October 2022. Retrieved 25 October 2022.


External links[edit]