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Leader of the House of Lords

Incumbent:
The Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Took office: 3 October 2008

Style: The Right Honourable
Appointed by: Gordon Brown
as Prime Minister
First: Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend
Formation: 1721
United Kingdom
Coat of Arms of the UK Government

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Leader of the House of Lords is a function in the British government that is always held in combination with a formal Cabinet position, most often Lord President of the Council, Lord Privy Seal or Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The Leader of the House takes charge of the government's business in the House of Lords. 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.

Contents

History

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 (under Lord Aberdeen, for instance, it was Lord John Russell, leader of the Whigs, who led business in the Commons).

After the end 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 Lord Hailsham also being designated "Minister of Science" or Lady Jay of Paddington also being "Minister for Women".

The first female Leader of the Lords was Lady Young in 1981-1983.

Leaders of the House of Lords

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.

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18th century

Name Portrait Political party Prime Minister Offices held in conjunction Took office Left office
The Viscount Townshend Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (2).jpg Whig Robert Walpole Northern Secretary 1721 1730
 ? 1730 1742
The Lord Carteret John Carteret, 2. hrabia Granville.jpg Whig The Earl of Wilmington 1742–43 Northern Secretary 1742 1744
Henry Pelham 1743–54
The Duke of Newcastle 1stDukeOfNewcastleOld.jpg Whig Prime Minister 1754–56 1744 1756
Himself 1754–56
The Duke of Devonshire William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire.JPG Whig Himself Prime Minister 1756 1757
The Duke of Newcastle 1stDukeOfNewcastleOld.jpg Whig Himself Prime Minister 1757 1762
The Earl of Bute John Stuart, Earl of Bute.jpg Tory Himself Prime Minister 1762 1763
 ? George Grenville 1763 1765
The Marquess of Rockingham Rockingham2.JPG Rockingham Whig Himself Prime Minister 1765 1766
The Duke of Grafton Grafton3.JPG Chathamite Whig The Earl of Chatham 1766–68 Prime Minister 1768–70 1766 1770
Himself 1768–70
 ? Lord North 1770 1782
The Marquess of Rockingham Rockingham2.JPG Rockingham Whig Himself Prime Minister 1782 1782
The Earl of Shelburne Shelburne.jpg Rockingham Whig Himself Prime Minister 1782 1783
The Duke of Portland W h cavendish-bentinck.jpg Whig
(Fox-North Coalition)
Himself Prime Minister 1783 1783
The Viscount Sydney 1stViscountSydney.jpg Whig William Pitt the Younger Home Secretary 1783 1789
The Duke of Leeds Francis Osborne by Thomas Lawrence.jpg Tory Foreign Secretary 1789 1790
The Lord Grenville William Wyndham Grenville.jpg Whig Home Secretary until 1791
Foreign Secretary 1791–1801
1790 1801

19th century

Name Portrait Political party Prime Minister Offices held in conjunction Took office Left office
The Lord Pelham 2ndEarlOfChichester.jpg Whig Henry Addington 1801–04 Home Secretary 1801 1803
The Lord Hawkesbury Earl jenkinson.jpg Tory Foreign Secretary until 1804
Home Secretary 1804–06
1803 1806
William Pitt the Younger 1804–06
The Lord Grenville William Wyndham Grenville.jpg Whig
(Ministry of All the Talents)
Himself Prime Minister 1806 1807
The Lord Hawkesbury
(Earl of Liverpool from 1808)
Earl jenkinson.jpg Tory The Duke of Portland 1807–09 Home Secretary 1807–09
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies 1809–12
Prime Minister 1812–27
1807 1827
Spencer Perceval 1809–12
Himself 1812–27
The Viscount Goderich FrederickJohnRobinson.jpg Tory Himself Prime Minister 1827 1828
The Duke of Wellington Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington by Robert Home.jpg Tory Himself Prime Minister 1828 1830
The Earl Grey Charlesgrey2.jpg Whig Himself Prime Minister 22 November 1830 9 July 1834
The Viscount Melbourne 2nd V Melbourne.jpg Whig Himself Prime Minister 16 July 1834 14 November 1834
The Duke of Wellington Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington by Robert Home.jpg Tory Himself 1834 Prime Minister
and other offices 1834
17 November 1834 8 April 1835
Sir Robert Peel
(Conservative) 1834–35
Foreign Secretary
The Viscount Melbourne 2nd V Melbourne.jpg Whig Himself Prime Minister 18 April 1835 30 August 1841
The Duke of Wellington Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington by Robert Home.jpg Conservative Sir Robert Peel, Bt Minister without Portfolio 3 September 1841 27 June 1846
The Marquess of Lansdowne Whig Lord John Russell Lord President of the Council 6 July 1846 21 February 1852
The Earl of Derby 14th Earl of Derby.jpg Conservative Himself Prime Minister 23 February 1852 17 December 1852
The Earl of Aberdeen George Hamilton Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen by John Partridge.jpg Peelite Himself Prime Minister 19 December 1852 30 January 1855
The Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Whig The Viscount Palmerston Lord President of the Council 8 February 1855 21 February 1858
The Earl of Derby 14th Earl of Derby.jpg Conservative Himself Prime Minister 21 February 1858 11 June 1859
The Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Liberal The Viscount Palmerston Lord President of the Council 18 June 1859 29 October 1865
The Earl Russell Lord john russell.jpg Liberal Himself Prime Minister 29 October 1865 26 June 1866
The Earl of Derby 14th Earl of Derby.jpg Conservative Himself Prime Minister 28 June 1866 25 February 1868
The Earl of Malmesbury 3rd Earl of Malmesbury.jpg Conservative Benjamin Disraeli Lord Privy Seal 27 February 1868 1 December 1868
The Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Liberal William Gladstone Colonial Secretary 1868–70
Foreign Secretary 1870–74
9 December 1868 17 February 1874
The Duke of Richmond Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, 6th Duke of Richmond, 6th Duke of Lennox, and 1st Duke of Gordon.jpg Conservative Benjamin Disraeli Lord President of the Council 21 February 1874 21 August 1876
The Earl of Beaconsfield Disraeli.jpg Conservative Himself Prime Minister 21 August 1876 21 April 1880
The Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Liberal William Gladstone Foreign Secretary 28 April 1880 9 June 1885
The Marquess of Salisbury Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury - Project Gutenberg eText 13103.jpg Conservative Himself Prime Minister
Foreign Secretary
23 June 1885 28 January 1886
The Earl Granville Second Earl Granville.jpg Liberal William Gladstone Colonial Secretary 6 February 1886 20 July 1886
The Marquess of Salisbury Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury - Project Gutenberg eText 13103.jpg Conservative Himself Prime Minister
Foreign Secretary 1887–92
25 July 1886 11 August 1892
The Earl of Kimberley 1st Earl of Kimberley 1868.jpg Liberal William Gladstone Lord President of the Council 18 August 1892 5 March 1894
The Earl of Rosebery RoseberyMillais.png Liberal Himself Prime Minister 5 March 1894 21 June 1895
The Marquess of Salisbury Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury - Project Gutenberg eText 13103.jpg Conservative Himself Prime Minister
Foreign Secretary 1895–1900
Lord Privy Seal 1900–02
25 June 1895 11 July 1902

20th century

Name Portrait Political party Prime Minister Offices held in conjunction Took office Left office
The Duke of Devonshire 8thDukeOfDevonshire.jpg Liberal Unionist Arthur Balfour
(Conservative)
Lord President of the Council 12 July 1902 13 October 1903
The Marquess of Lansdowne Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne - Project Gutenberg eText 16528.jpg Liberal Unionist Foreign Secretary 13 October 1903 4 December 1905
The Marquess of Ripon George Robinson 1st Marquess of Ripon.jpg Liberal Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman Lord Privy Seal 10 December 1905 14 April 1908
The Earl of Crewe
(Marquess of Crewe from 1911)
Robert Crewe-Milnes portrait.jpg Liberal H. H. Asquith Colonial Secretary 1908–10
Lord Privy Seal 1908–11, 1912–15
India Secretary 1910–15
Lord President of the Council 1915–16
14 April 1908 10 December 1916
The Earl Curzon of Kedleston
(Marquess Curzon of Kedleston from 1921)
George Curzon2.jpg Conservative David Lloyd George
(Liberal) 1916–22
Lord President of the Council 1916–19
Foreign Secretary 1919–24
10 December 1916 22 January 1924
Andrew Bonar Law 1922–23
Stanley Baldwin 1923–24
The Viscount Haldane Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane - Project Gutenberg eText 15306.jpg Labour Ramsay MacDonald Lord Chancellor 22 January 1924 3 November 1924
The Marquess Curzon of Kedleston George Curzon2.jpg Conservative Stanley Baldwin Lord President of the Council 3 November 1924 20 March 1925
The Marquess of Salisbury Conservative Lord Privy Seal 27 April 1925 4 June 1929
The Lord Parmoor Lordparmoor.jpg Labour Ramsay MacDonald Lord President of the Council 7 June 1929 24 August 1931
The Marquess of Reading Rufus Isaacs.jpg Liberal
(National Govt)
Ramsay MacDonald
(National Labour)
Foreign Secretary 24 August 1931 5 November 1931
The Viscount Hailsham Hailsham1.JPG Conservative
(National Govt)
Secretary of State for War 5 November 1931 7 June 1935
The Marquess of Londonderry Conservative Stanley Baldwin Lord Privy Seal 7 June 1935 22 November 1935
The Viscount Halifax Halifax-headshot.JPG Conservative Lord Privy Seal 1935–37
Lord President of the Council 1937–38
22 November 1935 21 February 1938
Neville Chamberlain
The Earl Stanhope Stanhope7.JPG Conservative President of the Board of Education until 1938
First Lord of the Admiralty 1938–39
Lord President of the Council 1939–40
21 February 1938 14 May 1940
The Viscount Caldecote Conservative Winston Churchill Dominions Secretary 14 May 1940 3 October 1940
The Viscount Halifax Halifax-headshot.JPG Conservative Foreign Secretay 3 October 1940 22 December 1940
The Lord Lloyd Lord Lloyd.JPG Conservative Colonial Secretary 22 December 1940 4 February 1941
The Lord Moyne Walter Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne.jpg Conservative Colonial Secretary 8 February 1941 21 February 1942
Viscount Cranborne Lord Cranborne.jpg Conservative Colonial Secretary 1942
Lord Privy Seal 1942–43
Dominions Secretary 1943–45
21 February 1942 26 July 1945
The Viscount Addison Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison.jpg Labour Clement Attlee Dominions Secretary 1945–47
Lord Privy Seal 1947–51
3 August 1945 26 October 1951
The Marquess of Salisbury Lord Cranborne.jpg Conservative Winston Churchill Lord Privy Seal 1951–52
Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations 1952
Lord President of the Council 1952–57
28 October 1951 29 March 1957
Anthony Eden
The Earl of Home Conservative Harold Macmillan Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations until 1960
Lord President of the Council 1957, 1959–60
29 March 1957 27 July 1960
The Viscount Hailsham Conservative Lord President of the Council 1960–63
Minister for Sport 1962–63
27 July 1960 20 October 1963
The Lord Carrington Lord Carrington.jpg Conservative Alec Douglas-Home Minister without Portfolio 20 October 1963 16 October 1964
The Earl of Longford Labour Harold Wilson Lord Privy Seal 1964–65, 1966–68
Colonial Secretary 1965–66
18 October 1964 16 January 1968
The Lord Shackleton Labour Lord Privy Seal 1968, 1968–70
Paymaster-General 1968
16 January 1968 19 June 1970
The Earl Jellicoe Conservative Edward Heath Lord Privy Seal 20 June 1970 23 May 1973
The Lord Windlesham Conservative Lord Privy Seal 5 June 1973 4 March 1974
The Lord Shepherd Labour Harold Wilson Lord Privy Seal 7 March 1974 10 September 1976
James Callaghan
The Lord Peart Labour Lord Privy Seal 10 September 1976 4 May 1979
The Lord Soames Conservative Margaret Thatcher Lord President of the Council 5 May 1979 14 September 1981
The Lady Young Conservative Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 1981–82
Lord Privy Seal 1982–83
14 September 1981 11 June 1983
The Viscount Whitelaw Conservative Deputy Prime Minister
Lord President of the Council
11 June 1983 10 January 1988
The Lord Belstead Conservative Lord Privy Seal 10 January 1988 28 November 1990
The Lord Waddington Conservative John Major Lord Privy Seal 28 November 1990 11 April 1992
The Lord Wakeham Conservative Lord Privy Seal 11 April 1992 20 July 1994
Viscount Cranborne Conservative Lord Privy Seal 20 July 1994 2 May 1997
The Lord Richard Labour Tony Blair Lord Privy Seal 2 May 1997 27 July 1998
The Lady Jay of Paddington Labour Lord Privy Seal 27 July 1998 8 June 2001

21st century

Name Portrait Political party Prime Minister Offices held in conjunction Took office Left office
The Lord Williams of Mostyn Labour Tony Blair Lord President of the Council 8 June 2001 20 September 2003
The Lady Amos Baroness amos dec 2007.jpg Labour Lord President of the Council 6 October 2003 27 June 2007
The Lady Ashton of Upholland Baroness Ashton 01.jpg Labour Gordon Brown Lord President of the Council 27 June 2007 2 October 2008
The Lady Royall of Blaisdon Labour Lord President of the Council 2008–09
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 2009–
2 October 2008 Incumbent

See also

References

External links

Leader of the House of Lords Official site [1]


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