Leader of the House of Lords

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United Kingdom
Leader of the House of Lords
House of Lords.svg
The Baroness Stowell.jpg
Incumbent
The Baroness Stowell of Beeston

since 15 July 2014
Office of the Leader of the House
Appointer David Cameron
Inaugural holder The Viscount Townshend
Formation 1721
Deputy The Earl Howe
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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 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.[1]

Though the Leader of the House is a member of the cabinet and remains a partisan figure, he 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, he 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.

Charles Spencer, 3rd 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.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the Prime Minister himself usually took responsibility for steering business through the House in which he sat. 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 Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd 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 of Paddington also being "Minister for Women".

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

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.

18th century[edit]

Name Portrait Concurrent office(s) Tenure Political party Prime Minister
Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (2).jpg Northern Secretary 1721 – 1730 Whig Robert Walpole
 ? 1730 – February 1742
John Carteret, 2nd Baron Carteret (2nd Earl Granville from October 1744) John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville by William Hoare.jpg Northern Secretary 12 February 1742 – 24 November 1744 Whig Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington (until July 1743)
Henry Pelham (from 27 August 1743)
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle 1stDukeOfNewcastleOld.jpg 1744 – 16 November 1756
Prime Minister (from 16 March 1754) Himself
William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire.JPG Prime Minister 16 November 1756 – 25 June 1757 Himself
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle 1stDukeOfNewcastleOld.jpg 2 July 1757 – 26 May 1762 Himself
John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute John Stuart, Earl of Bute.jpg 26 May 1762 – 8 April 1763 Tory Himself
 ? 1763 – 1765 George Grenville
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham 2nd Marquess of Rockingham cropped.jpg Prime Minister 13 July 1765 – 30 July 1766 Rockingham Whig Himself
Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton Grafton3.JPG 1766 – 28 January 1770 Chathamite Whig William Pitt the Elder, 1st Earl of Chatham (until October 1768)
Prime Minister Himself (from 14 October 1768)
 ? 1770 – 1782 Frederick North
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham 2nd Marquess of Rockingham cropped.jpg Prime Minister 27 March – July 1782 Rockingham Whig Himself
William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne Shelburne.jpg 14 July 1782 – April 1783 Himself
William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 01-Bentinck William Henry Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Portland c 1774.jpg 2 April – December 1783 Whig
(Fox-North Coalition)
Himself
(figurehead)
Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney 1stViscountSydney.jpg Home Secretary December 1783 – June 1789 Whig William Pitt the Younger
Francis Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds Francis Osborne cropped.jpg Foreign Secretary 1789 – 1790 Tory
William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville 1st Baron Grenville-cropped.jpg Home Secretary (until June 1791)
Foreign Secretary (from June 1791)
November 1790 – February 1801

19th century[edit]

Name Portrait Concurrent office(s) Tenure Political party Prime Minister
 ? (Thomas Pelham, Lord Pelham?) February – March 1801 Tory William Pitt the Younger
Robert Hobart, Lord Hobart[2] 4thEarlOfBuckinghamshire.jpg Secretary of State for War and the Colonies March – ? 1801 Henry Addington
Thomas Pelham, Lord Pelham of Stanmer 2ndEarlOfChichester.jpg Home Secretary 1801 – 1803
Robert Jenkinson, Lord Hawkesbury Earl jenkinson.jpg Foreign Secretary (until May 1804) 1803 – February 1806
Home Secretary (from 12 May 1804) William Pitt the Younger
William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville 1st Baron Grenville-cropped.jpg Prime Minister 11 February 1806 – March 1807 Whig Himself
(Ministry of All the Talents)
Robert Jenkinson, Lord Hawkesbury
(2nd Earl of Liverpool from 1808)
Earl jenkinson.jpg Home Secretary (until November 1809) 25 March 1807 – April 1827 Tory William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland
War & Colonial Secretary (1 November 1809 – June 1812) Spencer Perceval
Prime Minister (from 8 June 1812) Himself
F. J. Robinson, 1st 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
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington Sir Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington.jpg Prime Minister January 1828 – November 1830 Himself
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey Charlesgrey2.jpg 22 November 1830 – 9 July 1834 Whig Himself
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne 2nd V Melbourne.jpg 16 July – 14 November 1834 Himself
Arthur Wellesley, 1st 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
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne 2nd V Melbourne.jpg Prime Minister 18 April 1835 – 30 August 1841 Whig Himself
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington Sir Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington.jpg Minister without Portfolio 3 September 1841 – 27 June 1846 Conservative Robert Peel
Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne Lord Henry Petty.jpg Lord President of the Council 6 July 1846 – 21 February 1852 Whig John Russell
Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby-1865.jpg Prime Minister 23 February – 17 December 1852 Conservative Himself
George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen Earlofaberdeen.jpg 19 December 1852 – 30 January 1855 Peelite Himself
(Coalition)
Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Lord President of the Council 8 February 1855 – 21 February 1858 Whig Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby-1865.jpg Prime Minister 21 February 1858 – 11 June 1859 Conservative Himself
Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Lord President of the Council 18 June 1859 – 29 October 1865 Liberal Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell Lord john russell.jpg Prime Minister 29 October 1865 – 26 June 1866 Himself
Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby-1865.jpg 28 June 1866 – 25 February 1868 Conservative Himself
James Harris, 3rd Earl of Malmesbury 3rd Earl of Malmesbury.jpg Lord Privy Seal 27 February – 1 December 1868 Benjamin Disraeli
Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd 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
Charles Gordon-Lennox, 6th 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
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield Disraeli.jpg Prime Minister 21 August 1876 – 21 April 1880 Himself
Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Foreign Secretary 28 April 1880 – 9 June 1885 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury Robert cecil.jpg Prime Minister
Foreign Secretary
23 June 1885 – 28 January 1886 Conservative Himself
Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Colonial Secretary 6 February – 20 July 1886 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury Robert cecil.jpg Prime Minister
Foreign Secretary (from 14 January 1887)
25 July 1886 – 11 August 1892 Conservative Himself
John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley 1st Earl of Kimberley 1897.jpg Lord President of the Council 18 August 1892 – 5 March 1894 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery - 1890s.jpg Prime Minister 5 March 1894 – 21 June 1895 Himself
Robert Cecil, 3rd 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

Edwardian and wartime[edit]

Name Portrait Concurrent office(s) Tenure Political party Prime Minister
Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire 8thDukeOfDevonshire.jpg Lord President of the Council 12 July 1902 – 13 October 1903 Liberal Unionist Arthur Balfour
(Conservative)
Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne Marquess of Lansdowne.jpg Foreign Secretary 13 October 1903 – 4 December 1905
George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon George Robinson 1st Marquess of Ripon.jpg Lord Privy Seal 10 December 1905 – 14 April 1908 Liberal Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Earl of Crewe
(1st 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
George Curzon, 1st Earl Curzon of Kedleston
(1st 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
Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane - Project Gutenberg eText 15306.jpg Lord Chancellor 22 January – 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston George Curzon2.jpg Lord President of the Council 3 November 1924 – 20 March 1925 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury.jpg Lord Privy Seal 27 April 1925 – 4 June 1929
Charles Cripps, 1st Baron Parmoor Lord Parmoor - 19221128.jpg Lord President of the Council 7 June 1929 – 24 August 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading Rufus Isaacs.jpg Foreign Secretary 24 August – 5 November 1931 Liberal Ramsay MacDonald
(Nat. Govts: I & II)
Douglas Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham Hailsham1.JPG Secretary of State for War 5 November 1931 – 7 June 1935 Conservative
Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry Charles (Charlie) Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry.jpg Lord Privy Seal 7 June – 22 November 1935 Stanley Baldwin
(Nat. Govt)
Edward Wood, 1st 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)
James Stanhope, 7th 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)
Thomas Inskip, 1st Viscount Caldecote Thomas Inskip.jpg Dominions Secretary 14 May – 3 October 1940 Winston Churchill
(War coalition)
Edward Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax Lord Halifax 1937.jpg Foreign Secretary 3 October – 22 December 1940
George Lloyd, 1st Baron Lloyd Lord Lloyd.JPG Colonial Secretary 22 December 1940 – 4 February 1941
Walter Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne Walter Guinness, Lord Moyne.jpg 8 February 1941 – 21 February 1942
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Viscount Cranborne Lord Cranborne.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)

Post-War[edit]

Name Portrait Concurrent office(s) Tenure Political party Prime Minister
Christopher Addison, 1st 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
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury 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
Alec Douglas-Home, 14th Earl of 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
Quintin Hogg, 2nd Viscount Hailsham Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham Allan Warren.jpg Lord President of the Council
Minister for Science
27 July 1960 – 20 October 1963
Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington Peter Carington.PNG Minister without Portfolio 20 October 1963 – 16 October 1964 Alec Douglas-Home
Frank Pakenham, 7th 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
Edward Shackleton, Baron Shackleton Edward Shackleton.jpg Lord Privy Seal (until April 1968 & from 18 October 1968)
Paymaster-General (6 April–November 1968)
16 January 1968 – 19 June 1970
George Jellicoe, 2nd Earl Jellicoe George Jellicoe, 2nd Earl Jellicoe.jpg Lord Privy Seal 20 June 1970 – 23 May 1973 Conservative Edward Heath
David Hennessy, 3rd Baron Windlesham 5 June 1973 – 4 March 1974
Malcolm Shepherd, 2nd Baron Shepherd Malcolm Newton Shepherd, 2nd Baron Shepherd and Baron Shepherd of Spalding (27 September 1918 – 5 April 2001).jpg 7 March 1974 – 10 September 1976 Labour Harold Wilson
James Callaghan
Fred Peart, Baron Peart 10 September 1976 – 4 May 1979
Christopher Soames, Baron Soames Lord President of the Council 5 May 1979 – 14 September 1981 Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Janet Young, Baroness Young Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (until April 1982)
Lord Privy Seal (from 6 April 1982)
14 September 1981 – 11 June 1983
William Whitelaw, 1st Viscount Whitelaw William Whitelaw.jpg Deputy Prime Minister
Lord President of the Council
11 June 1983 – 10 January 1988
John Ganzoni, 2nd Baron Belstead Lord Privy Seal 10 January 1988 – 28 November 1990
David Waddington, Baron Waddington 28 November 1990 – 11 April 1992 John Major
John Wakeham, Baron Wakeham 11 April 1992 – 20 July 1994
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Viscount Cranborne Robert Gascoyne-Cecil 2013.JPG 20 July 1994 – 2 May 1997
Ivor Richard, Baron Richard 2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998 Labour Tony Blair
Margaret Jay, Baroness Jay of Paddington Baroness Jay of Paddington.jpg 27 July 1998 – 8 June 2001

21st century[edit]

Name Portrait Concurrent office(s) Tenure Political party Prime Minister
Gareth Williams, Baron Williams of Mostyn Lord Privy Seal 8 June 2001 – 20 September 2003 Labour Tony Blair
Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos Baroness Valerie Ann Amos.jpg Lord President of the Council 6 October 2003 – 27 June 2007
Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland Baroness Ashton headshot.jpg 27 June 2007 – 2 October 2008 Gordon Brown
Janet Royall, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon 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
Thomas Galbraith, 2nd Baron Strathclyde Lord Strathclyde.jpg Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 12 May 2010 – 7 January 2013 Conservative David Cameron
(Coalition)
Jonathan Hill, Baron Hill of Oareford Jonathan Hopkin Hill, Baron Hill of Oareford.jpg 7 January 2013 – 15 July 2014
Tina Stowell, Baroness Stowell of Beeston Baroness Stowell.jpg Lord Privy Seal 15 July 2014 – present
David Cameron

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/212617/lmr2009.pdf[dead link]
  2. ^ M. W. McCahill, The House of Lords in the Age of George III (1760-1811) (2009) p. 242.

External links[edit]