Leader of the House of Commons

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For the historic position in Northern Ireland, see Minister and Leader of the House of Commons.
Leader of the
House of Commons of the United Kingdom
Crowned Portcullis.svg
The Crowned Portcullis
William Hague 2010.jpg
Incumbent
The Right Honourable
William Hague MP

since 14 July 2014
Office of the Leader of the House
Style The Right Honourable
Appointer Elizabeth II
Inaugural holder Sir Robert Walpole
Formation 4 April 1721
Website www.commonsleader.gov.uk

The Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Commons. Because this office does not attract a ministerial salary,[1] it is usually held jointly with another ministerial position (often a sinecure). Although at one time the position was usually held by the Prime Minister, in recent years, the post has usually been combined with that of Lord President of the Council (i.e., of the Privy Council); from 2003 it has been combined instead with the office of Lord Privy Seal.

The House of Commons devotes approximately three quarters of its time to Government business, such as bills introduced by the government and ministerial statements. The Leader of the House, with the parties' chief whips ("the usual channels"), is responsible for organising the government business and providing time for non-government business to be put before the House, and announces the next week's schedule in the Business Statement each Thursday.

When there is no Deputy Prime Minister, or the Deputy Prime Minister is unavailable, the Leader of the House may stand in for an absent Prime Minister at Prime Minister's Questions.

Jointly administered by the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons and the Cabinet Office are the Osmotherly Rules, which set out guidance on how civil servants should respond to parliamentary select committees.[2]

Leaders of the House of Commons since 1721[edit]

At times the nominal leadership was held by the Prime Minister but the day-to-day work was done by a Deputy. At other times a Deputy was appointed merely to enhance an individual politician's standing within the government.

18th century[edit]

Name Portrait Took office Left office Offices held in conjunction Political Party Prime Minister
Sir Robert Walpole Robertwalpole cropped cropped.jpg 4 April 1721 6 February 1742 Prime Minister
and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Whig Himself
Samuel Sandys 1stLordSandys.jpg 12 February 1742 27 August 1743 Chancellor of the Exchequer Whig The Earl of Wilmington
Henry Pelham Henry Pelham.jpg 27 August 1743 6 March 1754 Prime Minister
and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Whig Himself
Thomas Robinson Thomas Robinson, 1st Baron Grantham.jpg 23 March 1754 October 1755 Southern Secretary Whig The Duke of Newcastle
Henry Fox Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland by John Giles Eccardt.jpg 14 November 1755 13 November 1756 Southern Secretary Whig
William Pitt the Elder Elderpitt.jpg 4 December 1756 6 April 1757 Southern Secretary Whig The Duke of Devonshire
Vacant
(Caretaker Ministry)
1757
William Pitt the Elder Elderpitt.jpg 27 June 1757 6 October 1761 Southern Secretary Whig The Duke of Newcastle
George Grenville George Grenville cropped.jpg October 1761 May 1762 Treasurer of the Navy Grenvillite Whig
Henry Fox Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland by John Giles Eccardt.jpg May 1762 April 1763 Paymaster of the Forces Whig The Earl of Bute
George Grenville George Grenville cropped.jpg 16 April 1763 13 July 1765 Prime Minister
and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Grenvillite Whig Himself
Henry Seymour Conway Field Marshal Conway.jpg July 1765 20 October 1768 Southern Secretary 1765–66
Northern Secretary 1766–68
Rockinghamite Whig The Marquess of Rockingham 1765–66
The Earl of Chatham 1766–68
Lord North Nathaniel Dance Lord North.jpg October 1768 22 March 1782 Chancellor of the Exchequer 1768–82
Prime Minister 1770–82
Tory The Duke of Grafton 1768–70
Himself 1770–82
Charles James Fox Charles James Fox00.jpg 27 March 1782 July 1782 Foreign Secretary Whig The Marquess of Rockingham
Thomas Townshend 1stViscountSydney.jpg 10 July 1782 6 March 1783 Home Secretary Whig The Earl of Shelburne
Charles James Fox
and Lord North
Charles James Fox by Karl Anton Hickel.jpgFox
Nathaniel Dance Lord North.jpgNorth
2 April 1783 19 December 1783 Home Secretary (North)
Foreign Secretary (Fox)
Fox-North Coalition The Duke of Portland
William Pitt the Younger William Pitt the Younger 2 cropped.jpg 19 December 1783 14 March 1801 Prime Minister
and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Pittite Tory Himself

19th century[edit]

Name Portrait Took office Left office Offices held in conjunction Political Party Prime Minister
Henry Addington Henry Addington by Beechey.jpg 17 March 1801 10 May 1804 Prime Minister
and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Pittite Tory Himself
William Pitt the Younger William Pitt the Younger 2 cropped.jpg 10 May 1804 23 January 1806 (died) Prime Minister
and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Pittite Tory Himself
Charles James Fox Charles James Fox00.jpg February 1806 13 September 1806 (died) Foreign Secretary Whig
(Ministry of All the Talents)
Lord Grenville
Viscount Howick Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey by Sir Thomas Lawrence.jpg September 1806 31 March 1807 Foreign Secretary
Spencer Perceval Spencerperceval.jpg April 1807 11 May 1812 (died) Chancellor of the Exchequer 1807–12
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 1807–12
Prime Minister 1809–12
Tory The Duke of Portland 1807–09
Himself 1809–12
Viscount Castlereagh Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh.PNG June 1812 12 August 1822 (died) Foreign Secretary Tory Lord Liverpool 1812–27
George Canning George Canning by Richard Evans - detail.jpg 16 September 1822 8 August 1827 (died) Foreign Secretary 1822–27
Prime Minister and
Chancellor of the Exchequer 1827
Canningite Tory
Himself 1827
William Huskisson William Huskisson by Richard Rothwell.jpg 3 September 1827 21 January 1828 War and Colonial Secretary Canningite Tory The Viscount Goderich
Robert Peel Sir Robert Peel 1844.jpg 26 January 1828 16 November 1830 Home Secretary Tory The Duke of Wellington
Viscount Althorp JC Spencer, Viscount Althorp by HP Bone cropped.jpg 22 November 1830 14 November 1834 Chancellor of the Exchequer Whig The Viscount Melbourne
Sir Robert Peel, Bt Sir Robert Peel 1844.jpg 10 December 1834 8 April 1835 Prime Minister
and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Conservative Himself
Lord John Russell Lord john russell.jpg 18 April 1835 30 August 1841 Home Secretary 1835–39
War and Colonial Secretary 1839–41
Whig The Viscount Melbourne
Sir Robert Peel, Bt Sir Robert Peel 1844.jpg 30 August 1841 29 June 1846 Prime Minister Conservative Himself
Lord John Russell Lord john russell.jpg 30 June 1846 21 February 1852 Prime Minister Whig Himself
Benjamin Disraeli Disraeli.jpg 27 February 1852 17 December 1852 Chancellor of the Exchequer Conservative The Earl of Derby
Lord John Russell Lord john russell.jpg 28 December 1852 30 January 1855 Foreign Secretary 1852–53
Minister without Portfolio 1853–54
Lord President of the Council 1854–55
Whig
(Coalition)
The Earl of Aberdeen
Viscount Palmerston Palmerston.jpg 6 February 1855 19 February 1858 Prime Minister Whig Himself
Benjamin Disraeli Disraeli.jpg 26 February 1858 11 June 1859 Chancellor of the Exchequer Conservative The Earl of Derby
Viscount Palmerston Palmerston.jpg 12 June 1859 18 October 1865 (died) Prime Minister Liberal Himself
William Ewart Gladstone Gladstone.jpg October 1865 26 June 1866 Chancellor of the Exchequer Liberal The Earl Russell
Benjamin Disraeli Disraeli.jpg 6 July 1866 1 December 1868 Chancellor of the Exchequer 1866–68
Prime Minister 1868
Conservative The Earl of Derby

1866–68

Himself 1868
William Ewart Gladstone Gladstone.jpg 3 December 1868 17 February 1874 Prime Minister 1868–74
Chancellor of the Exchequer 1873–74
Liberal Himself
Benjamin Disraeli Disraeli.jpg 20 February 1874 21 August 1876 Prime Minister Conservative Himself
Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt Стаффорд Генри Норткот.jpg 21 August 1876 21 April 1880 Chancellor of the Exchequer Conservative The Earl of Beaconsfield
William Ewart Gladstone Gladstone.jpg 23 April 1880 9 June 1885 Prime Minister 1880–85
Chancellor of the Exchequer 1880–82
Liberal Himself
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, Bt St Aldwyn Michael Edward Hicks-Beach (1st Earl).jpg 24 June 1885 28 January 1886 Chancellor of the Exchequer Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury
William Ewart Gladstone Gladstone.jpg 1 February 1886 2 July 1886 Prime Minister
and Lord Privy Seal
Liberal Himself
Lord Randolph Churchill Randolph Churchill.jpg 3 August 1886 14 January 1887 Chancellor of the Exchequer Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury
W. H. Smith William Henry Smith (1825–1891).jpg 17 January 1887 October 1891 First Lord of the Treasury Conservative
Arthur Balfour Arthur Balfour, photo portrait facing left.jpg October 1891 11 August 1892 First Lord of the Treasury Conservative
William Ewart Gladstone Gladstone.jpg 15 August 1892 2 March 1894 Prime Minister
and Lord Privy Seal
Liberal Himself
Sir William Vernon Harcourt Sir William Harcourt.jpg 2 March 1894 21 June 1895 Chancellor of the Exchequer Liberal The Earl of Rosebery
Arthur Balfour Arthur Balfour, photo portrait facing left.jpg 29 June 1895 4 December 1905 First Lord of the Treasury 1895–1905
Prime Minister 1902–05
Lord Privy Seal 1902–03
Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury 1895–1902
Himself 1902–05

20th century[edit]

Name Portrait Took office Left office Offices held in conjunction Political Party Prime Minister
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman Henry Campbell-Bannerman photo.jpg 5 December 1905 5 April 1908 Prime Minister Liberal Himself
H. H. Asquith H H Asquith 1908.jpg 5 April 1908 5 December 1916 Prime Minister 1908–16
War Secretary 1914
Liberal
(Coalition 1915–16)
Himself
Andrew Bonar Law Andrew Bonar Law 02.jpg 10 December 1916 23 March 1921 Chancellor of the Exchequer 1916–19
Lord Privy Seal 1919–21
Conservative
(Coalition)
David Lloyd George
Austen Chamberlain Austen Chamberlain nobel.jpg 23 March 1921 19 October 1922 Lord Privy Seal Conservative
(Coalition)
Andrew Bonar Law Andrew Bonar Law 02.jpg 23 October 1922 20 May 1923 Prime Minister Conservative Himself
Stanley Baldwin Stanley Baldwin ggbain.35233.jpg 22 May 1923 22 January 1924 Chancellor of the Exchequer 1923
Prime Minister 1923–24
Conservative Himself
Ramsay MacDonald
Deputy: J. R. Clynes
Ramsay MacDonald ggbain.29588.jpg 22 January 1924 3 November 1924 Prime Minister
and Foreign Secretary
Labour Himself
Stanley Baldwin
Deputy: Austen Chamberlain
Stanley Baldwin ggbain.35233.jpg 4 November 1924 4 June 1929 Prime Minister Conservative Himself
Ramsay MacDonald Ramsay MacDonald ggbain.29588.jpg 5 June 1929 7 June 1935 Prime Minister Labour Himself
National Labour
(National Govt 1931–35)
Stanley Baldwin
Deputy: Sir John Simon
Stanley Baldwin ggbain.35233.jpg 7 June 1935 28 May 1937 Prime Minister Conservative
(National Govt 1935–37)
Himself
Neville Chamberlain Arthur-Neville-Chamberlain.jpg 28 May 1937 10 May 1940 Prime Minister Conservative
(National Govt 1937–39;
War Govt 1939–40)
Himself
Winston Churchill
Deputy: Clement Attlee
Churchill portrait NYP 45063.jpg 10 May 1940 19 February 1942 Prime Minister
Minister of Defence
Conservative
(Coalition)
Winston Churchill
Sir Stafford Cripps Stafford cripps.jpg 19 February 1942 22 November 1942 Lord Privy Seal Independent
(Coalition)
Anthony Eden British Political Personalities 1936-1945 HU49409.jpg 22 February 1942 26 July 1945 Foreign Secretary Conservative
(Coalition)
Herbert Morrison HerbertMorrison2.jpg 27 July 1945 9 March 1951 Lord President of the Council Labour Clement Attlee
James Chuter Ede Chuter Ede 1941.jpg 9 March 1951 26 October 1951 Home Secretary Labour
Harry Crookshank Crookshank1932.png 28 October 1951 20 December 1955 Minister of Health 1951–52
Lord Privy Seal 1952–55
Conservative Sir Winston Churchill
Sir Anthony Eden
R. A. Butler RA Butler 1937.jpg 20 December 1955 9 October 1961 Lord Privy Seal 1955–59
Home Secretary 1957–61
Conservative
Harold Macmillan
Iain Macleod Iain Macleod crop.jpg 9 October 1961 20 October 1963 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Conservative
Selwyn Lloyd Selwyn Lloyd cropped.jpg 20 October 1963 16 October 1964 Lord Privy Seal Conservative Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Herbert Bowden 16 October 1964 11 August 1966 Lord President of the Council Labour Harold Wilson
Richard Crossman 11 August 1966 18 October 1968 Lord President of the Council Labour
Fred Peart 18 October 1968 19 June 1970 Lord President of the Council Labour
William Whitelaw 20 June 1970 7 April 1972 Lord President of the Council Conservative Edward Heath
Robert Carr Robert Carr2.jpg 7 April 1972 5 November 1972 Lord President of the Council Conservative
James Prior 5 November 1972 4 March 1974 Lord President of the Council Conservative
Edward Short 5 March 1974 8 April 1976 Lord President of the Council Labour Harold Wilson
Michael Foot 8 April 1976 4 May 1979 Lord President of the Council Labour James Callaghan
Norman St John-Stevas 5 May 1979 5 January 1981 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Minister for the Arts
Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Francis Pym Zconcam61.jpg 5 January 1981 5 April 1982 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 1981
Lord President of the Council 1981–82
Conservative
John Biffen 5 April 1982 13 June 1987 Lord President of the Council 1982–83
Lord Privy Seal 1983–87
Conservative
John Wakeham 13 June 1987 24 July 1989 Lord Privy Seal 1987–88
Lord President of the Council 1988–89
Conservative
Sir Geoffrey Howe Geoffrey Howe.jpg 24 July 1989 2 November 1990 Lord President of the Council
and Deputy Prime Minister
Conservative
John MacGregor 2 November 1990 10 April 1992 Lord President of the Council Conservative
John Major
Tony Newton 10 April 1992 1 May 1997 Lord President of the Council Conservative
Ann Taylor 2 May 1997 27 July 1998 Lord President of the Council Labour Tony Blair
Margaret Beckett Margaret Beckett May 2007.jpg 27 July 1998 8 June 2001 Lord President of the Council Labour

21st century[edit]

Name Portrait Took office Left office Offices held in conjunction Political Party Prime Minister
Robin Cook Robin Cook-close crop.jpg 8 June 2001 17 March 2003 Lord President of the Council Labour Tony Blair
John Reid John Reid on his last day as Home Secretary, June 2007.jpg 4 April 2003 13 June 2003 Lord President of the Council Labour
Peter Hain Peter Hain.png 11 June 2003 6 May 2005 Lord Privy Seal Labour
Geoff Hoon Geoff Hoon Headshot.jpg 6 May 2005 5 May 2006 Lord Privy Seal Labour
Jack Straw Jack Straw 2.jpg 5 May 2006 27 June 2007 Lord Privy Seal Labour
Harriet Harman Harriet Harman 2009 color.jpg 28 June 2007 11 May 2010 Lord Privy Seal
Minister for Women and Equality
Labour Gordon Brown
Sir George Young, Bt George Young Minister.jpg 12 May 2010 3 September 2012 Lord Privy Seal Conservative David Cameron
(Coalition)
Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley Official.jpg 4 September 2012 14 July 2014 Lord Privy Seal Conservative
William Hague William Hague 2010 cropped.jpg 14 July 2014 Incumbent First Secretary of State Conservative

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]