Leader of the House of Lords

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United Kingdom
Leader of the House of Lords
House of Lords.svg
Natalie Evans, Baroness Evans.jpg
Incumbent
The Baroness Evans of Bowes Park

since 14 July 2016
Office of the Leader of the House
Inaugural holder Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend
Formation 1721
Deputy Frederick Curzon, 7th Earl Howe[1]
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
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The Leader of the House of Lords is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Lords. The role is always held in combination with a formal Cabinet position, usually one of the sinecure offices of Lord President of the Council, Lord Privy Seal or Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Unless the Leader is also a departmental minister, being Leader constitutes the bulk of his or her government responsibilities, but it has never been an independent salaried office. The Office of the Leader of the House of Lords is a ministerial department.[2]

Though the Leader of the House is a member of the cabinet and remains a partisan figure, he or she also has responsibilities to the House as a whole. In contrast to the House of Commons, where proceedings are controlled by the Speaker, proceedings in the Lords are controlled by peers themselves, under the rules set out in the Standing Orders. The Leader of the House has the responsibility of reminding the House of these rules and facilitating the Lords' self-regulation, though any member may draw attention to breaches of order or failure to observe customs. The Leader is often called upon to advise on procedures and points of order, and is required to determine the order of speakers on Supplementary Questions, subject to the wishes of the House. However, like the Lord Speaker, the Leader of the House has no power to rule on points of order or to intervene during an inappropriate speech.

Until the election of the first Lord Speaker on 4 July 2006, the Leader of the House had responsibility for making preliminary decisions on requests for Private Notice Questions, and for waiving the sub judice rule in certain cases. Those functions were transferred to the Lord Speaker.

History[edit]

The title seems to have come into use some time after 1800, as a formal way of referring to the peer who managed government business in the upper House, irrespective of which salaried position they held in the cabinet. However, it may have been used as early as 1689, applied to George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax, when he was Speaker of the House of Lords during the Convention Parliament of that year.

The role developed during the first quarter of the eighteenth century, at the same time as the role of Prime Minister and the system of Cabinet government. In the wake of the English Civil War, the Glorious Revolution and the succession of the Hanoverians to the throne, Britain evolved a system of government where ministers were sustained in office by their ability to carry legislation through Parliament. It was therefore necessary for a member of the government to take responsibility for steering government legislation through each House.

The Earl of Sunderland, initiated aspects of the role during the Whig Junta under Queen Anne. Sunderland and the other Whigs were dismissed from office in reaction to their co-ordination of government matters, which was taken as a threat to the power of the monarch. Sunderland returned to power under George I, as Lord Privy Seal. The first documentary evidence of the existence of the role comes from 1717, when Sunderland became Secretary of State for the Northern Department: in the form of lists of peers invited to the office of the Northern Secretary immediately before sessions of Parliament.

When the Prime Minister sat in the House of Lords, which was common until the beginning of the twentieth century, he usually held the position of Leader of the House of Lords. When the Prime Minister sat in the Commons, the position of Leader of the Lords was often held by the Foreign Secretary or Colonial Secretary. In some coalition governments, it was held by the party leader who was not Prime Minister.

Since the end of the Marquess of Salisbury's last government, in 1902, the position clearly exists in its own right as a member of the cabinet. Since 1966 it has only been combined with sinecure positions and the holder has not been a departmental minister though some have held additional responsibilities such as Viscount Hailsham also being designated "Minister for Science" or Baroness Jay also being "Minister for Women".

The first female Leader of the Lords was Janet Young, Baroness Young in 1981–1983.

Families[edit]

Leaders of the House of Lords[edit]

Because the post is a parliamentary one and not a ministerial office in its own right, it is not always included in official lists of government offices, especially for earlier periods. This can make it difficult to determine who the Leader of the House of Lords was in a particular ministry.

Name Portrait Concurrent office(s) Tenure Political party Prime Minister

18th century[edit]

Viscount Townshend Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (2).jpg Northern Secretary 1721 1730 Whig Robert Walpole
 ? 1730 February 1742
Lord Carteret
(Earl Granville from October 1744)
John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville by William Hoare.jpg Northern Secretary 12 February 1742 24 November 1744 Whig Earl of Wilmington (until July 1743)
Henry Pelham (from 27 August 1743)
Duke of Newcastle 1stDukeOfNewcastleOld.jpg 1744 16 November 1756
Prime Minister (from 16 March 1754) Himself
Duke of Devonshire 4th Duke of Devonshire after Hudson.jpg Prime Minister 16 November 1756 25 June 1757 Himself
Duke of Newcastle 1stDukeOfNewcastleOld.jpg 2 July 1757 26 May 1762 Himself
Earl of Bute John Stuart, Earl of Bute.jpg 26 May 1762 8 April 1763 Tory Himself
 ? 1763 1765 George Grenville
Marquess of Rockingham 2nd Marquess of Rockingham cropped.jpg Prime Minister 13 July 1765 30 July 1766 Rockingham Whig Himself
Duke of Grafton Grafton3.JPG 1766 28 January 1770 Chathamite Whig Earl of Chatham (William Pitt the Elder)
(until October 1768)
Prime Minister Himself (from 14 October 1768)
 ? 1770 1782 Lord North
Marquess of Rockingham 2nd Marquess of Rockingham cropped.jpg Prime Minister 27 March July 1782 Rockingham Whig Himself
Earl of Shelburne William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne by JL Mosnier crop.jpg 14 July 1782 April 1783 Himself
Duke of Portland 3rd Duke of Portland crop.jpg 2 April December 1783 Whig
(Fox–North coalition)
Himself
(figurehead)
Lord Sydney Viscount Sydney by Gilbert Stuart.jpg Home Secretary December 1783 June 1789 Whig William Pitt the Younger
Duke of Leeds Francis Osborne cropped.jpg Foreign Secretary 1789 1790 Tory
Lord Grenville 1st Baron Grenville-cropped.jpg Home Secretary (until June 1791)
Foreign Secretary (from June 1791)
November 1790 February 1801

19th century[edit]

 ? (Lord Pelham?) February March 1801 Tory William Pitt the Younger
Lord Hobart[3] 4thEarlOfBuckinghamshire.jpg Secretary of State for War and the Colonies March 1801  ? 1801 Henry Addington
Lord Pelham 2ndEarlOfChichester.jpg Home Secretary 1801 1803
Lord Hawkesbury Earl jenkinson.jpg Foreign Secretary (until May 1804) 1803 February 1806
Home Secretary (from 12 May 1804) William Pitt the Younger
Lord Grenville 1st Baron Grenville-cropped.jpg Prime Minister 11 February 1806 March 1807 Whig Himself
(Ministry of All the Talents)
Lord Hawkesbury
(Earl of Liverpool from 1808)
Earl jenkinson.jpg Home Secretary (until November 1809) 25 March 1807 April 1827 Tory 3rd Duke of Portland
War & Colonial Secretary (1 November 1809 – June 1812) Spencer Perceval
Prime Minister (from 8 June 1812) Himself
Viscount Goderich Frederick John Robinson, 1st Earl of Ripon by Sir Thomas Lawrence cropped.jpg War & Colonial Secretary (until September 1827) 30 April 1827 January 1828 George Canning
Prime Minister (from 31 August 1827) Himself
Duke of Wellington Sir Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington.jpg Prime Minister January 1828 November 1830 Himself
Earl Grey Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey by Sir Thomas Lawrence copy.jpg 22 November 1830 9 July 1834 Whig Himself
Viscount Melbourne 2nd V Melbourne.jpg 16 July 1834 14 November 1834 Himself
Duke of Wellington Sir Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington.jpg Caretaker: Prime Minister, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, War & Colonial Secretary 17 November 1834 8 April 1835 Tory Himself
(Caretaker)
Foreign Secretary Robert Peel
Viscount Melbourne 2nd V Melbourne.jpg Prime Minister 18 April 1835 30 August 1841 Whig Himself
Duke of Wellington Sir Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington.jpg Minister without portfolio 3 September 1841 27 June 1846 Conservative Robert Peel
Marquess of Lansdowne Lord Henry Petty.jpg Lord President of the Council 6 July 1846 21 February 1852 Whig Lord John Russell
Earl of Derby Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby-1865.jpg Prime Minister 23 February 1852 17 December 1852 Conservative Himself
Earl of Aberdeen Earlofaberdeen.jpg 19 December 1852 30 January 1855 Peelite Himself
(Coalition)
Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Lord President of the Council 8 February 1855 21 February 1858 Whig Viscount Palmerston
Earl of Derby Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby-1865.jpg Prime Minister 21 February 1858 11 June 1859 Conservative Himself
Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Lord President of the Council 18 June 1859 29 October 1865 Liberal Viscount Palmerston
Earl Russell Lord john russell.jpg Prime Minister 29 October 1865 26 June 1866 Himself
Earl of Derby Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby-1865.jpg 28 June 1866 25 February 1868 Conservative Himself
Earl of Malmesbury 3rd Earl of Malmesbury.jpg Lord Privy Seal 27 February 1 December 1868 Benjamin Disraeli
Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Colonial Secretary (until July 1870)
Foreign Secretary (from 6 July 1870)
9 December 1868 17 February 1874 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Duke of Richmond Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, 6th Duke of Richmond, 6th Duke of Lennox, and 1st Duke of Gordon.jpg Lord President of the Council 21 February 1874 21 August 1876 Conservative Benjamin Disraeli
Earl of Beaconsfield
(Benjamin Disraeli)
Disraeli.jpg Prime Minister 21 August 1876 21 April 1880
Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Foreign Secretary 28 April 1880 9 June 1885 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Marquess of Salisbury Robert cecil.jpg Prime Minister
Foreign Secretary
23 June 1885 28 January 1886 Conservative Himself
Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Colonial Secretary 6 February 1886 20 July 1886 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Marquess of Salisbury Robert cecil.jpg Prime Minister
Foreign Secretary (from 14 January 1887)
25 July 1886 11 August 1892 Conservative Himself
Earl of Kimberley 1st Earl of Kimberley 1897.jpg Lord President of the Council 18 August 1892 5 March 1894 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Earl of Rosebery Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery - 1890s.jpg Prime Minister 5 March 1894 21 June 1895 Himself
Marquess of Salisbury Robert cecil.jpg Prime Minister
Foreign Secretary (until November 1900)
Lord Privy Seal (from 12 November 1900)
25 June 1895 11 July 1902 Conservative Himself

20th century[edit]

Duke of Devonshire 8thDukeOfDevonshire.jpg Lord President of the Council 12 July 1902 13 October 1903 Liberal Unionist Arthur Balfour
(Conservative)
Marquess of Lansdowne Marquess of Lansdowne.jpg Foreign Secretary 13 October 1903 4 December 1905
Marquess of Ripon George Robinson 1st Marquess of Ripon.jpg Lord Privy Seal 10 December 1905 14 April 1908 Liberal Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Earl of Crewe
(Marquess of Crewe from July 1911)
Robert Crewe-Milnes portrait.jpg Colonial Secretary (May 1908 – November 1910)
Lord Privy Seal (October 1908 – October 1911; February 1912 – May 1915)
India Secretary (November 1910 – March 1911; 25 May 1911 – May 1915)
Lord President of the Council (from 25 May 1915)
President of the Board of Education (from 18 August 1916)
14 April 1908 10 December 1916 H. H. Asquith
Earl Curzon of Kedleston
(Marquess Curzon of Kedleston from July 1921)
George Curzon2.jpg Lord President of the Council (until October 1919)
Foreign Secretary (from 23 October 1919)
10 December 1916 22 January 1924 Conservative David Lloyd George
Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Viscount Haldane Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane - Project Gutenberg eText 15306.jpg Lord Chancellor 22 January 1924 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Marquess Curzon of Kedleston George Curzon2.jpg Lord President of the Council 3 November 1924 20 March 1925 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
Marquess of Salisbury James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury.jpg Lord Privy Seal 27 April 1925 4 June 1929
Lord Parmoor Lord Parmoor - 19221128.jpg Lord President of the Council 7 June 1929 24 August 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Marquess of Reading Rufus Isaacs.jpg Foreign Secretary 24 August 1931 5 November 1931 Liberal Ramsay MacDonald
(Nat. Govts: I & II)
Viscount Hailsham Hailsham1.JPG Secretary of State for War 5 November 1931 7 June 1935 Conservative
Marquess of Londonderry Charles (Charlie) Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry.jpg Lord Privy Seal 7 June 1935 22 November 1935 Stanley Baldwin
(Nat. Govt)
Viscount Halifax Lord Halifax 1937.jpg Lord Privy Seal (until May 1937)
Lord President of the Council (from 28 May 1937)
22 November 1935 21 February 1938
Neville Chamberlain
(Nat. Govt)
Earl Stanhope Stanhope7.JPG President of the Board of Education (until October 1938)
First Lord of the Admiralty (27 October 1938 – September 1939)
21 February 1938 14 May 1940
Lord President of the Council (from 3 September 1939) Neville Chamberlain
(War coalition)
Viscount Caldecote Thomas Inskip.jpg Dominions Secretary 14 May 1940 3 October 1940 Winston Churchill
(War coalition)
Viscount Halifax Lord Halifax 1937.jpg Foreign Secretary 3 October 1940 22 December 1940
Lord Lloyd Lord Lloyd.JPG Colonial Secretary 22 December 1940 4 February 1941
Lord Moyne Walter Guinness, Lord Moyne.jpg 8 February 1941 21 February 1942
Viscount Cranborne Robert Gascoyne-Cecil 1947.jpg Colonial Secretary (until November 1942)
Lord Privy Seal (22 November 1942 – September 1943)
Dominions Secretary (from 24 September 1943–45)
21 February 1942 26 July 1945
Winston Churchill
(Caretaker coalition)
Viscount Addison Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison.jpg Dominions Secretary (until July 1947)
Commonwealth Secretary (7 July – October 1947)
Lord Privy Seal (7 October 1947 – March 1951)
Paymaster General (2 July 1948 – April 1949)
Lord President of the Council (from 9 March 1951)
3 August 1945 26 October 1951 Labour Clement Attlee
Marquess of Salisbury
(previously as Viscount Cranborne)
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil 1947.jpg Lord Privy Seal (until May 1952)
Commonwealth Secretary (12 March – November 1952)
Lord President of the Council (from 24 November 1952)
28 October 1951 29 March 1957 Conservative Winston Churchill
Anthony Eden
Earl of Home
(Alec Douglas-Home)
Lord Alec Douglas-Home Allan Warren.jpg Commonwealth Secretary
Lord President of the Council (until September 1957 & from 14 October 1959)
29 March 1957 27 July 1960 Harold Macmillan
Viscount Hailsham Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham Allan Warren.jpg Lord President of the Council
Minister for Science
27 July 1960 20 October 1963
Lord Carrington Peter Carington.PNG Minister without portfolio 20 October 1963 16 October 1964 Alec Douglas-Home
Earl of Longford Lord Longford 4 Allan Warren.jpg Lord Privy Seal (until December 1965 & from 6 April 1966)
Colonial Secretary (23 December 1965 – April 1966)
18 October 1964 16 January 1968 Labour Harold Wilson
Lord Shackleton Lord Privy Seal (until April 1968 & from 18 October 1968)
Paymaster-General (6 April–November 1968)
16 January 1968 19 June 1970
Earl Jellicoe George Jellicoe, 2nd Earl Jellicoe.jpg Lord Privy Seal 20 June 1970 23 May 1973 Conservative Edward Heath
Lord Windlesham 5 June 1973 4 March 1974
Lord Shepherd 7 March 1974 10 September 1976 Labour Harold Wilson
James Callaghan
Lord Peart 10 September 1976 4 May 1979
Lord Soames Lord President of the Council 5 May 1979 14 September 1981 Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Baroness Young Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (until April 1982)
Lord Privy Seal (from 6 April 1982)
14 September 1981 11 June 1983
Viscount Whitelaw Deputy Prime Minister
Lord President of the Council
11 June 1983 10 January 1988
Lord Belstead Lord Privy Seal 10 January 1988 28 November 1990
Lord Waddington 28 November 1990 11 April 1992 John Major
Lord Wakeham 11 April 1992 20 July 1994
Viscount Cranborne Robert Gascoyne-Cecil 2013.JPG 20 July 1994 2 May 1997
Lord Richard 2 May 1997 27 July 1998 Labour Tony Blair
Baroness Jay Baroness Jay of Paddington.jpg 27 July 1998 8 June 2001

21st century[edit]

Lord Williams Lord Privy Seal 8 June 2001 20 September 2003 Labour Tony Blair
Baroness Amos Baroness Valerie Ann Amos.jpg Lord President of the Council 6 October 2003 27 June 2007
Baroness Ashton Baroness Ashton headshot.jpg 27 June 2007 2 October 2008 Gordon Brown
Baroness Royall BaronessRoyallPortrait.jpg Lord President of the Council (until June 2009)
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (from 5 June 2009)
2 October 2008 11 May 2010
Lord Strathclyde Lord Strathclyde.jpg Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 12 May 2010 7 January 2013 Conservative David Cameron
(Coalition)
Lord Hill Jonathan Hopkin Hill, Baron Hill of Oareford.jpg 7 January 2013 15 July 2014 Conservative
Baroness Stowell Baroness Stowell.jpg Lord Privy Seal 15 July 2014 14 July 2016 Conservative
David Cameron
(II)
Baroness Evans Natalie Evans, Baroness Evans.jpg 14 July 2016 Incumbent Conservative Theresa May

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Rt Hon Earl Howe". UK Government. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 
  2. ^ http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/212617/lmr2009.pdf[dead link]
  3. ^ M. W. McCahill, The House of Lords in the Age of George III (1760-1811) (2009) p. 242.

External links[edit]