Of the top four jobs in British politics, just five women have held any of them, with one having never been filled by a woman.
Due to parliamentary tradition, the four Great Offices of State are the roles of the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary.
Only one individual has ever held all four positions: Labour’s James Callaghan, who served as prime minister between 1976 and 1979. The roles are currently held by Theresa May, Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd and Boris Johnson respectively.
The five women to have held any of the role are as follows:
Thatcher was Britain’s first female prime minister, having served in the role between 1979 and 1990. Out of the four Great Offices, she only served as prime minister, however, she did serve as a minister in Edward Heath’s government between 1970 and 1974.
Beckett served as foreign secretary for little over a year under Tony Blair’s leadership. She served between 2006 and 2007 before being replaced by David Miliband when Gordon Brown came to power.
The only other Labour MP on this list is Jacqui Smith, who served as Home Secretary between 2007 and 2009. She was then replaced by Alan Johnson.
Theresa May became Home Secretary when David Cameron came to power in 2010. She served in the post for six years before becoming prime minister in the summer of 2016, following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. She is the only women to have ever held more than one of the Great Offices of State.
Rudd became Home Secretary in July 2016 when Theresa May became prime minister. She has been tipped as a future Conservative Party leader. The Telegraph has also reported that she was set to be the next Chancellor of the Exchequer after a landslide victory in June’s election. The landslide never happened, and Rudd remains in charge of the Home Office to this day.
So far there have been two female prime ministers, three female Home Secretaries, and one female foreign secretary. The only top-four position not to have been filled by a woman is the Chancellery. If Philip Hammond gets moved – or booted out – could Amber Rudd take his place?
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