In April 1955 Sir Anthony Eden succeeded Winston Churchill as Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and finally reached the post he had coveted for so long. He retained Rab Butler (with whom he did not get along) as Chancellor of the Exchequer until December 1955, when Eden demoted him to Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons. Eden was succeeded as Foreign Secretary by future Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, who, however, only held this post until December of the same year, when he replaced Butler as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Selwyn Lloyd gained his first cabinet post when he succeeded Macmillan as Minister of Defence in April 1955, and again replaced Macmillan as Foreign Secretary in December of that year. Another future Prime Minister, the Earl of Home, entered the cabinet as Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in 1955. Gwilym Lloyd George, younger son of former Liberal leader David Lloyd George, remained as Home Secretary.
Eden's decision to take military action over the Suez Crisis of 1956 caused major embarrassment for Britain and their French allies. Eden, then already in declining health, resigned as Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party in January 1957. Harold Macmillan was chosen over Rab Butler to succeed as party leader and Prime Minister.
- Prime Minister: Sir Anthony Eden
- Lord Chancellor: Lord Kilmuir
- Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Lords: Lord Salisbury
- Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons: Harry Crookshank
- Chancellor of the Exchequer: R.A. Butler
- Foreign Secretary: Harold Macmillan
- Home Secretary: Gwilym Lloyd George
- Secretary of State for the Colonies: Alan Lennox-Boyd
- Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations: Lord Home
- President of the Board of Trade: Peter Thorneycroft
- Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Lord Woolton:
- Minister of Education: Sir David Eccles:
- Secretary of State for Scotland: James Stuart
- Minister of Agriculture: Derick Heathcoat Amory
- Minister of Labour and National Service: Sir Walter Turner Monckton
- Minister of Defence: Selwyn Lloyd
- Minister of Housing and Local Government: Duncan Sandys
- Minister of Pensions and National Insurance: Osbert Peake
- December 1955: Rab Butler succeeds Harry Crookshank as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons. Harold Macmillan succeeds Butler as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Selwyn Lloyd succeeds Macmillan as Foreign Secretary. Sir Walter Monckton succeeds Lloyd as Minister of Defence. Iain Macleod succeeds Monckton as Minister of Labour and National Service. Lord Selkirk succeeds Lord Woolton as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The Minister of Public Works, Patrick Buchan-Hepburn, enters the Cabinet. The Minister of Pensions and National Insurance leaves the Cabinet upon Peake's retirement.
- October 1956: Sir Walter Monckton becomes Paymaster-General. Antony Henry Head succeeds Monckton as Minister of Defence.
Eden's initial cabinet is remarkable for the fact that 10 out of the original 18 members were Old Etonians: Eden, Salisbury, Crookshank, Macmillan, Home, Stuart, Thorneycroft, Heathcoat Amory, Sandys and Peake were all educated at Eton.
List of Ministers
Members of the Cabinet are in bold face.
- D. Butler and G. Butler (ed.). Twentieth Century British Political Facts 1900–2000.
Third Churchill ministry
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