The Home Secretary or Secretary of State for the Home Department occupies a post in the British government similar to that of ministers of the interior in other countries: he or she, as head of the Home Office, is responsible for national security and policing, prisons, immigration policy and citizenship. Until the creation of a separate Ministry of Justice in 2007, the Home Secretary also had responsibility for judicial matters. In British politics, the Home Office is regarded as a 'poisoned chalice': much can go wrong, often at very short notice, while Home Secretaries receive little popular credit when things run smoothly.
A past Home Secretary was the Rt Hon Jacqueline Jill "Jacqui" Smith, MP for Redditch since 1997 when the Labour party came to power. She was the first woman to hold the position and only the third woman to hold one of the Great Offices of State. She is best known for the use of the fear of terrorism as a way to introduce more authoritarian policies.