Lord President of the Council

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Lord President of the Council
Royal Arms of the United Kingdom (Privy Council).svg
The current Lord President of the Council
Incumbent
Chris Grayling

since 8 May 2015
Privy Council Office
Style The Right Honourable
Appointer The Sovereign
on advice of the Prime Minister
Inaugural holder Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk
Formation 14 August 1530
Website www.privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/
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The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Treasurer and above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval. In the modern era, the holder is by convention always a member of one of the houses of Parliament and the office is a Cabinet post. The Lord President is currently Chris Grayling as of 8 May 2015.

The office and its history[edit]

The Privy Council meets once a month, wherever the Sovereign may be residing at the time, to give formal approval to Orders in Council. Only a few Privy Counsellors need attend such meetings, and only when invited to do so at the Government's request. As the duties of the Lord President are not onerous, the post has often been given to a government minister whose responsibilities are not department-specific. In recent years it has been most usual for the Lord President to also serve as Leader of the House of Commons or Leader of the House of Lords.

Prior to the 2010 change of government, the Lord President was Peter Mandelson, who was also First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.[1] This was the first time that the Lord President had not been a leader of one of the Houses since the period 20 October 1963 to 16 October 1964, wherein Quintin Hogg (2nd Viscount Hailsham until November 1963), after resigning as Leader of the House of Lords, kept the office along with the offices of Minister for Sport and, from 1 April 1964, also of Secretary of State for Education and Science.[2]

On several occasions since 1954, non-British Ministers have served briefly as acting Lords President of the Council, solely to preside over a meeting of the Privy Council held in a Commonwealth realm.[3][4][5] Examples of this practice are the meetings in New Zealand in 1990 and 1995, when Geoffrey Palmer and James Bolger respectively were acting Lords President.

In the 19th century, the Lord President was generally the cabinet member responsible for the education system amongst their other duties. This role was gradually scaled back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but remnants of it remain, such as the oversight of the governance of various universities.

A particularly vital role was played by the Lord President of the Council during the Second World War. The Lord President served as chairman of the Lord President's Committee. This committee acted as a central clearing house for dealing with economic problems that affected the country. As such, it was vital to the smooth running of the British war economy and consequently the entire British war effort.

Winston Churchill, clearly believing that this wartime co-ordinating role was beneficial, introduced a similar but expanded system in the first few years of his post-war premiership.[6] The so-called 'overlord ministers' included Frederick Leathers as 'Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power' and Frederick Marquis, 1st Baron Woolton as Lord President. Woolton's job was to co-ordinate the then separate ministries of agriculture and food.[7] The historian Peter Hennessy quotes a PhD thesis by Michael Kandiah saying that Woolton was 'arguably the most successful of the Overlords' partly because his ministries were quite closely related, indeed they were merged in 1955 as the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.[8]

The Lord President has no role in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Visitorial role[edit]

The Lord President also serves as the Visitor for several British universities, including:

Partial list of office holders[edit]

1530–1553[edit]

1621–1631[edit]

1678–1714[edit]

Hanoverian[edit]

Victorian[edit]

Edwardian and war-time[edit]

Name Portrait Concurrent title(s) Tenure Political party Prime Minister
Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire by Julia Abercromby.jpg President of the Board of Education
(3 March 1900 – 11 August 1902)
Leader of the House of Lords (from 12 July 1902)
29 June 1895 – 19 October 1903 Liberal Unionist Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
(Coalition)
Arthur Balfour
Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 6th Marquess of Londonderry Lord Londonderry, 6th Marquess.jpg President of the Board of Education 19 October 1903 – 11 December 1905 Conservative
Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe Robert Crewe-Milnes portrait.jpg 11 December 1905 – 16 April 1908 Liberal Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Edward Marjoribanks, 2nd Baron Tweedmouth Edward Majoribanks.jpg 16 April – 19 October 1908 H. H. Asquith
Henry Fowler, 1st Viscount Wolverhampton Henry Fowler.jpg 19 October 1908 – 21 June 1910
William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp Beauchamp7.JPG 21 June – 7 November 1910
John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn Morley-John-Viscount.jpg Secretary of State for India (7 March – 25 May 1911) 7 November 1910 – 5 August 1914
William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp Beauchamp7.JPG 5 August 1914 – 25 May 1915
Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe Robert Crewe-Milnes portrait.jpg Leader of the House of Lords
President of the Board of Trade (from 18 August 1916)
25 May 1915 – 10 December 1916 H. H. Asquith
(War coalition)
George Curzon, 1st Earl Curzon of Kedleston George Curzon2.jpg Leader of the House of Lords 10 December 1916 – 23 October 1919 Conservative David Lloyd George
(Coalition)
Arthur Balfour Gws balfour 02.jpg 23 October 1919 – 19 October 1922
James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury.jpg Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (until 25 May 1923) 24 October 1922 – 22 January 1924 Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Charles Cripps, 1st Baron Parmoor Lord Parmoor - 19221128.jpg 22 January – 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston George Curzon2.jpg Leader of the House of Lords 6 November 1924 – 27 April 1925 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
Arthur Balfour Gws balfour 02.jpg 27 April 1925 – 4 June 1929
Charles Cripps, 1st Baron Parmoor Lord Parmoor - 19221128.jpg Leader of the House of Lords 7 June 1929 – 24 August 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Stanley Baldwin Stanley Baldwin ggbain.35233.jpg Lord Privy Seal (from 29 September 1932) 25 August 1931 – 7 June 1935 Conservative Ramsay MacDonald
(1st and 2nd Nat. coalition)
Ramsay MacDonald Ramsay MacDonald ggbain 35734.jpg 7 June 1935 – 28 May 1937 National Labour Stanley Baldwin
(3rd Nat. coalition)
Edward Wood, 3rd Viscount Halifax Lord Halifax 1937.jpg Leader of the House of Lords
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (from 21 February 1938)
28 May 1937 – 9 March 1938 Conservative Neville Chamberlain
(4th Nat. and War coalition)
Douglas Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham Hailsham1.JPG 9 March – 31 October 1938
Walter Runciman, 1st Viscount Runciman of Doxford Viscount Runciman of Doxford.JPG 31 October 1938 – 3 September 1939 Liberal
James Stanhope, 7th Earl Stanhope Stanhope7.JPG Leader of the House of Lords 3 September 1939 – 11 May 1940 Conservative
Neville Chamberlain Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R99302 Chamberlain.jpg 11 May – 3 October 1940 Winston Churchill
(War coalition)
John Anderson John Anderson cropped.jpg 3 October 1940 – 24 September 1943 National
Clement Attlee Attlee BW cropped.jpg 24 September 1943 – 23 May 1945 Labour
Frederick Marquis, 1st Baron Woolton 1st Earl of Woolton 1947.jpg 25 May 1945 – 26 July 1945 National Winston Churchill
(Caretaker coalition)

Post-War[edit]

Name Portrait Concurrent title(s) Tenure Political party Prime Minister
Herbert Morrison Herbert Morrison 1947.jpg Leader of the House of Commons 27 July 1945 – 9 March 1951 Labour Clement Attlee
Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison.jpg Leader of the House of Lords 9 March – 26 October 1951
Frederick Marquis, 1st Baron Woolton 1st Earl of Woolton 1947.jpg 28 October 1951 – 25 November 1952 Conservative Winston Churchill
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury Robert Gascoyne-Cecil 1947.jpg Leader of the House of Lords 25 November 1952 – 29 March 1957 Winston Churchill
Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Alec Douglas-Home, 14th Earl of Home Alec Douglas-Home (c1963).jpg 29 March 1957 – 17 September 1957
Quintin Hogg, 2nd Viscount Hailsham Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham Allan Warren.jpg 17 September 1957 – 14 October 1959
Alec Douglas-Home, 14th Earl of Home Alec Douglas-Home (c1963).jpg Leader of the House of Lords 14 October 1959 – 27 July 1960
Quintin Hogg (disclaimed 2nd Viscount Hailsham, 20 November 1963) Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham Allan Warren.jpg Leader of the House of Lords (until Oct. 1963)
and Minister for Science
27 July 1960 – 16 October 1964
Minister for Science (20 October 1963 – 1 April 1964) Alec Douglas-Home
Sec. of State for Education and Science (from Apr. 1964)
Herbert Bowden Leader of the House of Commons 16 October 1964 – 11 August 1966 Labour Harold Wilson
Richard Crossman 11 August 1966 – 18 October 1968
Fred Peart 18 October 1968 – 19 June 1970
Willie Whitelaw William Whitelaw.jpg 20 June 1970 – 7 April 1972 Conservative Edward Heath
Robert Carr Robert Carr2.jpg 7 April – 5 November 1972
Jim Prior 5 November 1972 – 4 March 1974
Edward Short 5 March 1974 – 8 April 1976 Labour Harold Wilson
Michael Foot Michael Foot (1981).jpg 8 April 1976 – 4 May 1979 James Callaghan
Christopher Soames, Baron Soames Leader of the House of Lords 5 May 1979 – 14 September 1981 Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Francis Pym Zconcam61.jpg Leader of the House of Commons 14 September 1981 – 7 April 1982
John Biffen 7 April 1982 – 11 June 1983
Willie Whitelaw, 1st Viscount Whitelaw William Whitelaw.jpg Deputy Prime Minister
Leader of the House of Lords
11 June 1983 – 10 January 1988
John Wakeham Leader of the House of Commons 10 January 1988 – 24 July 1989
Geoffrey Howe Geoffrey Howe.jpg Deputy Prime Minister
Leader of the House of Commons
24 July 1989 – 1 November 1990
John MacGregor Leader of the House of Commons 2 November 1990 – 10 April 1992
John Major
Tony Newton 10 April 1992 – 2 May 1997
Ann Taylor 3 May 1997 – 27 July 1998 Labour Tony Blair
Margaret Beckett Margaret Beckett May 2007.jpg 27 July 1998 – 8 June 2001

21st century[edit]

Name Portrait Concurrent title(s) Tenure Political party Prime Minister
Robin Cook Robin Cook-close crop.jpg Leader of the House of Commons 8 June 2001 – 18 March 2003 Labour Tony Blair
John Reid JohnReidHeadshot.jpg 4 April 2003 – 13 June 2003
Gareth Williams, Baron Williams of Mostyn Leader of the House of Lords 13 June 2003 – 20 September 2003
Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos Baroness Valerie Ann Amos.jpg 6 October 2003 – 27 June 2007
Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland Baroness Ashton headshot.jpg 28 June 2007 – 3 October 2008 Gordon Brown
Janet Royall, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon BaronessRoyallPortrait.jpg 3 October 2008 – 5 June 2009
Peter Mandelson, Baron Mandelson Peter Mandelson at Politics of Climate Change 3.jpg First Secretary of State
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation
and Skills
5 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Nick Clegg Nick Clegg by the 2009 budget cropped.jpg Deputy Prime Minister
(with special responsibility for
political and constitutional reform
)
11 May 2010 – 8 May 2015 Liberal Democrat David Cameron
(Coalition)
Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Official.jpg Leader of the House of Commons 9 May 2015 – present Conservative David Cameron

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Patrick Wintour (5 June 2009). "Weakened Gordon Brown unable to shift cabinet's bigger beasts". Guardian.co.uk (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 5 June 2009. 
  2. ^ D. Butler and G. Butler, Twentieth Century British Political Facts 1900–2000
  3. ^ http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/1954/may/18/her-majestys-return |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 18 May 1954. col. 645.  "Her Majesty's Return", Herbert Samuel: "... there has been constitutional work done, there have been acts of State: ... meetings of the Privy Council, an organ of the Constitution older than Parliament itself, for wherever the Sovereign is, and three Privy Counsellors are present, there may be meetings of the Council and Orders passed. So, during this tour there have been sessions of the Privy Council in Australia, in New Zealand and in Ceylon, with their own local Privy Council members – members of the one single Imperial Privy Council, but their own local members."
  4. ^ Cox, Noel (1998–99). "The Dichotomy of Legal Theory and Political Reality: The Honours Prerogative and Imperial Unity". Australian Journal of Law and Society 1 (14): 15–42. Retrieved 19 November 2011. The Queen has in fact regularly presided over meetings of the Privy Council in New Zealand, since her first in 1954. That was the first held by the Sovereign outside the United Kingdom, although in 1920 Edward Prince of Wales held a Council in Wellington to swear in the Earl of Liverpool as Governor-General. 
  5. ^ Kumarasingham, Harshan (2010). Onward with Executive Power: Lessons from New Zealand 1947–57 (PDF). Wellington, New Zealand: Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-877347-37-5. Retrieved 19 November 2011. The Queen held a meeting of the Privy Council [on 13 January 1954] at the 'Court at Government House at Wellington' with her New Zealand prime minister as 'acting Lord President' of the council. The deputy prime minister, Keith Holyoake, 'secured for himself a place in constitutional history by becoming the first member to be sworn of Her Majesty’s Council outside the United Kingdom'. 
  6. ^ Hennessy, Peter. The Prime Minister: The Office and Its Holders Since 1945 (2000), pp.189–190.
  7. ^ Hennessy, p.191
  8. ^ Hennessy, pp.193