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
David Lidington

since 14 July 2016
Privy Council Office
Style The Right Honourable
Appointer Monarch of the United Kingdom
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 and is responsible of presiding over meetings 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 David Lidington as of 14 July 2016.

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 typical for the Lord President to also serve as Leader of the House of Commons or Leader of the House of Lords.

Before the change of government in 2010, 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 two Houses since the period 20 October 1963 to 16 October 1964, when 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 the country's economic problems. This 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:

[9]

Partial list of office holders[edit]

1530–1553[edit]

1621–1631[edit]

1678–1714[edit]

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

1714-1830[edit]

Earl of Nottingham Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham and 7th Earl of Winchilsea by Jonathan Richardson.jpg 23 September 1714 6 July 1716 Tory Viscount Townshend
Duke of Devonshire William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt.jpg 6 July 1716 16 March 1718 Whig
Viscount Stanhope of Mahon
Earl of Sunderland Charles Spencer 3rd Earl of Sunderland.jpg First Lord of the Treasury 16 March 1718 6 February 1719 Whig Earl of Sunderland
Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull 1st Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull.JPG 6 February 1719 11 June 1720 Whig
Viscount Townshend Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (2).jpg Secretary of State for the Northern Department (from 6 February 1721) 11 June 1720 25 June 1721 Whig
Sir Robert Walpole
Lord Carleton Henry Boyle Lord Carleton by Godfrey Kneller.jpg 25 June 1721 27 March 1725 Whig
Duke of Devonshire William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt.jpg 27 March 1725 4 June 1729 Whig
Lord Trevor 1stBaronTrevor.jpg 8 May 1730 19 June 1730 Tory
Earl of Wilmington Spencer Compton 1st Earl of Wilmington.jpg 31 December 1730 13 February 1742 Whig
Earl of Harrington William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington (1683-1756), Attributed to Godfrey Kneller.jpg Secretary of State for the Northern Department (from 24 November 1744) 13 February 1742 3 January 1745 Whig Earl of Wilmington
Henry Pelham
Duke of Dorset Dorset1.JPG Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (from 15 December 1750) 3 January 1745 17 June 1751 Whig
Earl Granville John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville by William Hoare.jpg 17 June 1751 2 January 1763 Whig
Duke of Newcastle
Duke of Devonshire
Duke of Newcastle
Earl of Bute
Duke of Bedford 4thDukeOfBedford.jpg 9 September 1763 12 July 1765 Whig George Grenville
Earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham Daniel Finch (1689-1769), 8th Earl of Winchilsea, 3rd Earl of Nottingham, by Thomas Worlidge.jpg 12 July 1765 30 July 1766 Whig Marquess of Rockingham
Earl of Northington Robert Henley, 1st Earl of Northington by Thomas Hudson.jpg 30 July 1766 22 December 1767 Whig Earl of Chatham
Earl Gower 1stMarquessOfStafford.jpg 22 December 1767 24 November 1779 Tory
Duke of Grafton
Lord North
Earl Bathurst 2ndEarlBathurst.jpg 24 November 1779 27 March 1782 Tory
Lord Camden Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden by Nathaniel Dance, (later Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, Bt).jpg 27 March 1782 2 April 1783 Whig Marquess of Rockingham
Earl of Shelburne
Viscount Stormont Portrait of David Murray 2nd Earl of Mansfield by Sylvester Harding.jpg 2 April 1783 19 December 1783 Tory Duke of Portland
Earl Gower 1stMarquessOfStafford.jpg 19 December 1783 1 December 1784 Tory William Pitt
Lord Camden, from 1786 Earl Camden Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden by Nathaniel Dance, (later Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, Bt).jpg 1 December 1784 18 April 1794 Tory
Earl Fitzwilliam 2ndEarlFitzwilliam.jpg 1 July 1794 17 December 1794 Whig
Earl of Mansfield Portrait of David Murray 2nd Earl of Mansfield by Sylvester Harding.jpg 17 December 1794 1 September 1796 Tory
Earl of Chatham Chatham2.JPG Lord Privy Seal (until 14 February 1798) 21 September 1796 30 July 1801 Tory
Henry Addington
Duke of Portland 3rd Duke of Portland crop.jpg 30 July 1801 14 January 1805 Tory
William Pitt
Viscount Sidmouth Henry Addington by Beechey.jpg 14 January 1805 10 July 1805 Tory
Earl Camden John Jeffreys Pratt (1759–1840), Marquis Camden by William Salter.jpg 10 July 1805 19 February 1806 Tory
Earl Fitzwilliam 2ndEarlFitzwilliam.jpg 19 February 1806 8 October 1806 Whig Lord Grenville
Viscount Sidmouth Henry Addington by Beechey.jpg 8 October 1806 26 March 1807 Tory
Earl Camden John Jeffreys Pratt (1759–1840), Marquis Camden by William Salter.jpg 26 March 1807 8 April 1812 Tory Duke of Portland
Spencer Perceval
Viscount Sidmouth Henry Addington by Beechey.jpg 8 April 1812 11 June 1812 Tory
Earl of Harrowby 1stEarlOfHarrowby.jpg 11 June 1812 17 August 1827 Tory Earl of Liverpool
George Canning
Duke of Portland 4th-Duke-of-Portland.gif 17 August 1827 28 January 1828 Tory Viscount Goderich
Earl Bathurst Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst by William Salter.jpg 28 January 1828 22 November 1830 Tory Duke of Wellington

1830-1895[edit]

Marquess of Lansdowne Lord Henry Petty.jpg 22 November 1830 15 November 1834 Whig Earl Grey
Viscount Melbourne
Earl of Rosslyn Rosslyn2.JPG 15 December 1834 18 April 1835 Conservative Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Marquess of Lansdowne Lord Henry Petty.jpg 18 April 1835 3 September 1841 Whig Viscount Melbourne
Lord Wharncliffe 1stLordWharncliffe.jpg 3 September 1841 19 December 1845 Conservative Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Duke of Buccleuch 5th Duke of Buccleuch.jpg 21 January 1846 6 July 1846 Conservative
Marquess of Lansdowne Lord Henry Petty.jpg Leader of the House of Lords 6 July 1846 27 February 1852 Whig Lord John Russell
Earl of Lonsdale William Lowther, 2nd Earl of Lonsdale.jpg 27 February 1852 28 December 1852 Conservative Earl of Derby
Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg 28 December 1852 12 June 1854 Whig Earl of Aberdeen
Lord John Russell Lord John Russell.jpg Leader of the House of Commons 12 June 1854 8 February 1855 Whig
Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Leader of the House of Lords 8 February 1855 26 February 1858 Whig Viscount Palmerston
Marquess of Salisbury James Brownlow William Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Salisbury Eddis.jpg 26 February 1858 18 June 1859 Conservative Earl of Derby
Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Leader of the House of Lords 18 June 1859 6 July 1866 Liberal Viscount Palmerston
Earl Russell
Duke of Buckingham and Chandos 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos.jpg 6 July 1866 8 March 1867 Conservative Earl of Derby
Duke of Marlborough John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough.jpg 8 March 1867 9 December 1868 Conservative
Benjamin Disraeli
Earl de Grey and Ripon George Robinson 1st Marquess of Ripon.jpg 9 December 1868 9 August 1873 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Lord Aberdare Henry Bruce, 1st Baron Aberdare NPG.jpg 9 August 1873 21 February 1874 Liberal
Duke of Richmond Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, 6th Duke of Richmond, 6th Duke of Lennox, and 1st Duke of Gordon.jpg Leader of the House of Lords (to 21 August 1876) 21 February 1874 28 April 1880 Conservative Benjamin Disraeli, from 1876 Earl of Beaconsfield
Earl Spencer 5th earl spencer.jpg Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (from 4 May 1882) 28 April 1880 19 March 1883 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Lord Carlingford 1st Baron Carlingford.jpg Lord Privy Seal (to 5 March 1885) 19 March 1883 24 June 1885 Liberal
Viscount Cranbrook 1st Earl of Cranbrook.jpg Secretary of State for War (from 21 January 1886) 24 June 1885 6 February 1886 Conservative Marquess of Salisbury
Earl Spencer 5th earl spencer.jpg 6 February 1886 3 August 1886 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Viscount Cranbrook 1st Earl of Cranbrook.jpg 3 August 1886 18 August 1892 Conservative Marquess of Salisbury
Earl of Kimberley 1st Earl of Kimberley 1868.jpg Secretary of State for India 18 August 1892 10 March 1894 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Earl of Rosebery Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery - 1890s.jpg Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, and Leader of the House of Lords 10 March 1894 29 June 1895 Liberal Earl of Rosebery

1895–1945[edit]

Duke of Devonshire Picture of Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire.jpg President of the Board of Education
(3 March 1900 – July 1902)
29 June 1895 19 October 1903 Liberal Unionist Marquess of Salisbury
(Coalition)
Leader of the House of Lords
(from 12 July 1902)
Arthur Balfour
(Coalition)
Marquess of Londonderry Lord Londonderry, 6th Marquess.jpg President of the Board of Education 19 October 1903 11 December 1905 Conservative
Earl of Crewe Portrait of Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe.jpg 11 December 1905 16 April 1908 Liberal Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Lord Tweedmouth Lord Tweedmouth, Naval Secretary, portrait bust.jpg 16 April 1908 19 October 1908 H. H. Asquith
Viscount Wolverhampton Henry Fowler.jpg 19 October 1908 21 June 1910
Earl Beauchamp William Lygon.jpg 21 June 1910 7 November 1910
Viscount Morley John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn - Project Gutenberg eText 17976.jpg Secretary of State for India
(7 March – 25 May 1911)
7 November 1910 5 August 1914
Earl Beauchamp
(2nd time)
William Lygon.jpg 5 August 1914 25 May 1915
Marquess of Crewe
(2nd time)
Portrait of Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe.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)
Earl Curzon Curzon GGBain.jpg Leader of the House of Lords 10 December 1916 23 October 1919 Conservative David Lloyd George
(Coalition)
Arthur Balfour
(Earl of Balfour from 5 May 1922)
Gws balfour 02.jpg 23 October 1919 19 October 1922
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
Lord Parmoor Lord Parmoor - 19221128.jpg 22 January 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
(2nd time)
Curzon GGBain.jpg Leader of the House of Lords 6 November 1924 27 April 1925 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
Earl of Balfour
(2nd time)
Gws balfour 02.jpg 27 April 1925 4 June 1929
Lord 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 (29 September 1932 - December 1933) 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)
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)
Viscount Hailsham Hailsham1.JPG 9 March 1938 31 October 1938
Viscount Runciman Portrait of Walter Runciman, 1st Viscount Runciman of Doxford.jpg 31 October 1938 3 September 1939 National Liberal
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 1940 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 Deputy Prime Minister 24 September 1943 23 May 1945 Labour
Lord Woolton 1st Earl of Woolton 1947.jpg 25 May 1945 26 July 1945 National Winston Churchill
(Caretaker coalition)

1945–2001[edit]

Herbert Morrison Herbert Morrison 1947.jpg Leader of the House of Commons 27 July 1945 9 March 1951 Labour Clement Attlee
Viscount Addison Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison.jpg Leader of the House of Lords 9 March 1951 26 October 1951
Lord Woolton
(2nd time)
1st Earl of Woolton 1947.jpg 28 October 1951 25 November 1952 Conservative Winston Churchill
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
Earl of Home Alec Douglas-Home (c1963).jpg 29 March 1957 17 September 1957
Viscount Hailsham Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham Allan Warren.jpg 17 September 1957 14 October 1959
Earl of Home
(2nd time)
Alec Douglas-Home (c1963).jpg Leader of the House of Lords 14 October 1959 27 July 1960
Viscount Hailsham
(2nd time)
(as Quintin Hogg
from 20 November 1963,
title disclaimed under Peerage Act 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 in 1963.jpg 20 June 1970 7 April 1972 Conservative Edward Heath
Robert Carr Robert Carr2.jpg 7 April 1972 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
Lord 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
Viscount Whitelaw
(2nd time)
William Whitelaw in 1963.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

Since 2001[edit]

Robin Cook Robin Cook-close crop.jpg Leader of the House of Commons 8 June 2001 18 March 2003 Labour Tony Blair
John Reid ReidTaormina crop.jpg 4 April 2003 13 June 2003
Lord Williams of Mostyn Leader of the House of Lords 13 June 2003 20 September 2003
Baroness Amos Baroness Valerie Ann Amos.jpg 6 October 2003 27 June 2007
Baroness Ashton Baroness Ashton headshot.jpg 28 June 2007 3 October 2008 Gordon Brown
Baroness Royall BaronessRoyallPortrait.jpg 3 October 2008 5 June 2009
Lord 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 2012.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 14 July 2016 Conservative David Cameron
David Lidington David Lidington (4606350522).jpg 14 July 2016 Theresa May

See also[edit]

 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lord President of the Council". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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
  9. ^ https://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/work-of-the-privy-council-office/higher-education/universities/