Secretary of state
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A general term for a Minister with responsibility for a Governmental department. In days gone by there was such a role as 'Secretary of State', a sort of executive officer to the Crown. Over the last few hundred years, the responsibilities of the Secretary have been split up into departments, and there is no single 'Secretary of State' any more. Because ministerial responsibilities are reorganised so frequently, it is inadvisable for a Statute to identify a particular minister when allocating authority for certain actions. Instead it is common to use the term Secretary of State for 'the minister having responsibility for this area of policy for the time being'.