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Gordon Brown was appointed Prime Minister in June 2007
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the political leader of the United Kingdom and the Head of Her Majesty's Government. The office holder is responsible for selecting all other members of the government, chairing Cabinet meetings and deciding when to call a new general election for the House of Commonsmarker. The Prime Minister can also make appointments to senior positions in the Church of England, appoint judges and propose the creation of new life peers.

There is no specific date when the office of Prime Minister first appeared, as the role was not created but evolved over a period of time. However, modern historians generally apply the title of First Prime Minister to Sir Robert Walpole, who led the country for 21 years from 1721 to 1742. , Walpole is the longest serving Prime Minister of the country. The office is currently held by Gordon Brown, the Leader of the Labour Party.
Colour key
(for political parties)




Prime Ministers under George I (1714–1727) and George II (1727–1760)

|rowspan="2" style="background-color: " | |rowspan="2" style="background-color: " | |rowspan="2" style="background-color: " |
  Portrait Name Term of office Electoral mandates Political party Other ministerial offices
held while Prime Minister
Refs
Sir Robert Walpole 4 April 1721
11 Feb.

1742
1722, 1727, 1734, 1741 Whig
(Walpole/Townshend 1721–30;
Walpole Ministry 1730–42)

First Lord of the Treasury,

Chancellor of the Exchequer

& Leader of the House of Commons
Regarded as the first Prime Minister in the modern sense; The South Sea Company bubble; criticised for Great Britain's poor performance in the War of Jenkins' Ear.
Spencer Compton
The Earl of Wilmington
16 Feb. 1742
2 July 1743
 — Whig
(Carteret Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury
Increased tax on spirits; in poor health for much of his time as Prime Minister, the government was led de facto by John Carteret. Died in office.
Henry Pelham 27 Aug. 1743
6 March 1754
1747 Whig
(Carteret Ministry 1743–44;
Broad Bottom Ministry 1744–46;
Second Pelham Ministry 1746–54)


First Lord of the Treasury,

Chancellor of the Exchequer

& Leader of the House of Commons


Prime Ministers under George III (1760–1820)



Prime Ministers under George IV (1820–1830)



Prime Ministers under William IV (1830–1837)



Prime Ministers under Victoria (1837–1901)



Prime Ministers under Edward VII (1901–1910)



Prime Ministers under George V (1910–1936) and Edward VIII (1936)



Prime Ministers under George VI (1936–1952)



Prime Ministers under Elizabeth II (1952–Present)



See also



Timelines



References

  1. Hennessy (2001), pp. 39–40
  2. Clarke (1993), p. 266
  3. Hennessy (2001), p. 39
  4. Clarke (1993), p. 266
  5. Thomas (2002), pp. 66–94
  6. Thomas (2002), pp. 95–124
  7. Thomas (2002), pp. 125–147
  8. Thomas (2002), pp. 148–196
  9. Thomas (2002), pp. 197–218
  10. Clarke (1993), pp. 278–279
  11. Clarke (1993), p. 281
  12. Priestley (2002), p. 62
  13. Priestley (2002), p. 65
  14. Clarke (1993), pp. 293–294
  15. Black (2006), p. 180
  16. Anderson (1856), pp. 442–443
  17. Black (2006), pp. 180–181
  18. Clarke (1993), p. 294
  19. Longford (1998), p. 63
  20. Longford (1998), pp. 156–157
  21. Longford (1998), p. 187
  22. Longford (1998), pp. 228–231
  23. Longford (1998), p. 232
  24. Longford (1998), p. 246
  25. Longford (1998), p. 281
  26. Longford (1998), p. 282
  27. Longford (1998), p. 346
  28. Longford (1998), p. 351
  29. Longford (1998), p. 353
  30. Longford (1998), p. 357
  31. Longford (1998), p. 396
  32. Longford (1998), p. 433
  33. Longford (1998), p. 484
  34. Longford (1998), pp. 492–493
  35. Longford (1998), pp. 518–519
  36. Longford (1998), pp. 527–528
  37. Longford (1998), pp. 533–534
  38. Rose (1983), pp. 196–198
  39. Rose (1983), p. 265
  40. Rose (1983), p. 272
  41. Rose (1983), p. 326
  42. Rose (1983), p. 337
  43. Rose (1983), p. 361
  44. Rose (1983), pp. 373–374
  45. Rose (1983), p. 398
  46. Hennessy (2001), p. 179
  47. Hennessy (2001), p. 158
  48. Hennessy (2001), p. 147
  49. Hennessy (2001), p. 178
  50. Hennessy (2001), p. 207
  51. Hennessy (2001), p. 248
  52. Hennessy (2001), p. 272
  53. Hennessy (2001), p. 286
  54. Hennessy (2001), p. 331
  55. Hennessy (2001), p. 357
  56. Hennessy (2001), p. 376
  57. Hennessy (2001), p. 397
  58. Hennessy (2001), p. 437
  59. Hennessy (2001), p. 476


Bibliography



External links



Reorganisation of the Royal Navy; 1745 Jacobite Rebellion; adoption of the Gregorian Calendar; Marriage Act 1753; helped end the War of the Austrian Succession. Died in office.
Thomas Pelham-Holles
The Duke of Newcastle

(1st ministry)
16 March 1754
16 Nov.

1756
1754
Whig
(First Newcastle Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Led Great Britainmarker into the Seven Years' War with France in North America.
William Cavendish
The Duke of Devonshire
16 Nov. 1756
25 June 1757
 —
Whig
(1757 Caretaker Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
The government was largely run by William Pitt the Elder.
Thomas Pelham-Holles
The Duke of Newcastle

(2nd ministry)
2 July 1757
26 May 1762
1761
Whig
(Second Newcastle Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Great Britain gained more influence abroad in the Seven Years' War; the war was largely prosecuted by Pitt the Elder as Secretary of State.
 
Portrait
Name
Term of office
Electoral mandates
Political party
Other ministerial offices
held while Prime Minister
Refs
John Stuart
The Earl of Bute
26 May 1762
8 April 1763
 —
Tory
(Bute Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
First Scottish Prime Minister. Ended the dominance of the Whigs; Treaty of Paris ending the Seven Years' War; resigned after fierce criticism of Treaty of Paris concessions.
George Grenville
16 April 1763
13 July 1765
 —
Whig (Grenvillite)
(Grenville Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Chancellor of the Exchequer

& Leader of the House of Commons
Lowered domestic tax at the expense of the colonies; introduced the Stamp Act 1765 (which ultimately led to the American Revolution).
Charles Watson-Wentworth
The Marquess of Rockingham

(1st ministry)
13 July 1765
30 July 1766
 —
Whig (Rockinghamite)
(First Rockingham Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Repealed the controversial Stamp Act, inspired by protests from both American colonists and British manufacturers who were hurt by it; introduced the Declaratory Act 1766.
William Pitt the Elder
The Earl of Chatham
30 July 1766
14 Oct.

1768
 —
Whig (Chathamite)
Lord Privy Seal
The first real Imperialist; credited with the birth of the British Empire; defeated France in Canada, thereby indirectly precipitating the French Revolution.
Augustus FitzRoy
The Duke of Grafton
14 Oct. 1768
28 Jan.

1770
1768
Whig (Chathamite)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Attempted to reconcile with the American colonies.
Frederick North
Lord North
28 Jan. 1770
22 March 1782
1774, 1780
Tory
(North Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Chancellor of the Exchequer

& Leader of the House of Commons
Led Great Britain into the American Revolution, making a number of tactical errors; the Gordon Riots; attempted reform in Ireland; resigned after a vote of no confidence against the will of the King.
Charles Watson-Wentworth
The Marquess of Rockingham

(2nd ministry)
27 March 1782
1 July 1782
 —
Whig (Rockinghamite)
(Second Rockingham Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Acknowledged the independence of the United States; began a process of economic reform. Died in office.
William Petty
The Earl of Shelburne
4 July 1782
2 April 1783
Whig (Rockinghamite)
(Shelburne Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Planned political reform; secured peace with the United States, France and Spain.
William Cavendish-Bentinck
The Duke of Portland

(1st ministry)
2 April 1783
19 Dec.

1783
 —
Whig
(Fox-North Coalition)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Titular head of the Fox-North Coalition. Attempted to reform the British East India Company, but was blocked by George III.
William Pitt the Younger
(1st ministry)
19 Dec. 1783
14 March 1801
1784, 1790, 1796
Pittite (Tory)

First Lord of the Treasury,

Chancellor of the Exchequer

& Leader of the House of Commons
Youngest Prime Minister. India Act 1784; attempted to remove rotten boroughs; personally opposed to the slave trade; reduced the national debt due to the rebellion in the North American colonies; formed the Triple Alliance; Constitutional Act of 1791; war with France starting in 1793; introduced the first income tax; Act of Union 1800.
Henry Addington
17 March 1801
10 May 1804
1801 co-option, 1802
Pittite (Tory)
(Addington Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Chancellor of the Exchequer

& Leader of the House of Commons
Negotiated the Treaty of Amiens with France in 1802.
William Pitt the Younger
(2nd ministry)
10 May 1804
23 Jan.

1806
 —
Pittite (Tory)
(Second Pitt the Younger Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Chancellor of the Exchequer

& Leader of the House of Commons
Alliance with Russia, Austriamarker and Swedenmarker against France (Third Coalition); Battle of Trafalgarmarker; Battle of Ulmmarker; Battle of Austerlitzmarker. Died in office.
William Wyndham Grenville
The Lord Grenville
11 Feb. 1806
31 March 1807
1806
Whig
(Ministry of All the Talents)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Abolition of the slave trade.
William Cavendish-Bentinck
The Duke of Portland

(2nd ministry)
31 March 1807
4 Oct.

1809
1807
Tory
First Lord of the Treasury
He headed a Tory government; was old and ill, leaving the Cabinet to their own devices (largely headed by Spencer Perceval).
Spencer Perceval
4 Oct. 1809
11 May 1812
 —
Tory
First Lord of the Treasury,

Chancellor of the Exchequer,

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

& Leader of the House of Commons
Descent of George III into madness; his administration was notable for the lack of senior statesmen (Perceval also served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer); Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The only Prime Minister to have been assassinated.
Robert Banks Jenkinson
Lord Liverpool
8 June 1812
9 April 1827
1812, 1818, 1820, 1826
Tory
(Liverpool Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Oversaw the United Kingdom's victory in the Napoleonic Wars; the Congress of Vienna; an economic recession in 1817; the Luddite movement; The War of 1812 (in Britain, the American War of 1812 to 1815); Peterloo Massacremarker in 1819; return to the gold standard in 1819; the Cato Street Conspiracy to assassinate Liverpool in 1820.
 
Portrait
Name
Term of office
Electoral mandates
Political party
Other ministerial offices
held while Prime Minister
Refs
George Canning
10 April 1827
8 Aug 1827
 —
Tory (Canningite)
(Canning Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Chancellor of the Exchequer

& Leader of the House of Commons
Died shortly after taking office.
Frederick John Robinson
The Viscount Goderich
31 Aug. 1827
21 Jan.

1828
 —
Tory (Canningite)
(Goderich Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Lacked support amongst colleagues; resigned.
Arthur Wellesley
The Duke of Wellington

(1st ministry)
22 Jan. 1828
16 Nov.

1830
1830
Tory
(First Wellington Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Catholic Emancipation Bill (over which he fought a duel).
 
Portrait
Name
Term of office
Electoral mandates
Political party
Other ministerial offices
held while Prime Minister
Refs
Charles Grey
The Earl Grey
22 Nov. 1830
9 July 1834
1831, 1832
Whig
(Grey Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Reform Act 1832; quelled Swing Riots; restriction of employment of children; reform of the Poor Laws; abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire.
William Lamb
The Viscount Melbourne

(1st ministry)
16 July 1834
14 Nov.

1834
 —
Whig
(First Melbourne Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
William IV's opposition forced him to resign.
Arthur Wellesley
The Duke of Wellington

(2nd ministry)
14 Nov. 1834
10 Dec.

1834
 —
Tory
(Conservative Provisional Government)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Secretary of State for the Home Department,

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,

Secretary of State for War and the Colonies

& Leader of the House of Lords
Caretaker government while Sir Robert Peel was located and returned to London. Held many of the major posts himself.
Sir Robert Peel
(1st ministry)
10 Dec. 1834
8 April 1835
1835
Conservative
(First Peel Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Chancellor of the Exchequer

& Leader of the House of Commons
†Minority government. Unable to form a majority in Parliament so resigned.
William Lamb
The Viscount Melbourne

(2nd ministry)
18 April 1835
30 Aug.

1841
1835, 1837
Whig
(Second Melbourne Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
A father figure to Queen Victoria; Municipal Corporations Act 1835; Bedchamber Crisis; Treaty of Waitangi.
 
Portrait
Name
Term of office
Electoral mandates
Political party
Other ministerial offices
held while Prime Minister
Refs
Sir Robert Peel
(2nd ministry)
30 Aug. 1841
29 June 1846
1841
Conservative
(Second Peel Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
Mines Act 1842; reintroduction of income tax; Factory Act 1844; Railway Act 1844; repeal of the Corn Laws (triggered by the Great Irish Potato Famine) and other tariffs; Maynooth Grant.
Lord John Russell
(1st ministry)
30 June 1846
21 Feb.

1852
1847
Whig
(First Russell Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
†Minority government, but with the Conservatives split between Protectionists and Peelites, the Whigs held power. Education Act 1847; Don Pacifico affair; Chartist demonstrations; Australian Colonies Government Act; The Great Exhibition; improved the Poor laws.
Edward Smith-Stanley
The Earl of Derby

(1st ministry)
23 Feb. 1852
17 Dec.

1852
1852
Conservative
(First Derby Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Government collapsed when his Chancellor's Budget was defeated.
George Hamilton-Gordon
The Earl of Aberdeen
19 Dec. 1852
30 Jan.

1855
 —
Peelite
(Coalition Government)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Only Peelite Prime Minister. Led the country into the Crimean War; resigned after defeat in the vote for an inquiry into the conduct of the war.
Henry John Temple
The Viscount Palmerston

(1st ministry)
6 Feb. 1855
19 Feb.

1858
1857
Whig
(First Palmerston Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
Responded to the Indian mutiny of 1857; introduced the India Bill.
Edward Smith-Stanley
The Earl of Derby

(2nd ministry)
20 Feb. 1858
11 June 1859
 —
Conservative
(Second Derby Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Government of India Act 1858, transferring ownership of the East India Company to the Crown; Jews Relief Act, allowing Jews to become MPs.
Henry John Temple
The Viscount Palmerston

(2nd ministry)
12 June 1859
18 Oct.

1865
1859, 1865
Liberal
(Second Palmerston Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
Between periods in office he founded the Liberal Party; term dominated by policy concerning the American Civil War; attempts to alleviate suffering caused by the Lancashire Cotton Famine. Died in office.
John Russell
The Earl Russell

(2nd ministry)
29 Oct. 1865
26 June 1866
 —
Liberal
(Second Russell Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Attempted to introduce a further Reform Bill, but was opposed by his Cabinet.
Edward Smith-Stanley
The Earl of Derby

(3rd ministry)
28 June 1866
25 Feb.

1868
 —
Conservative
(Third Derby Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Lords
Reform Act 1867; considered by some to be the father of the modern Conservative Party.
Benjamin Disraeli
(1st ministry)
27 Feb. 1868
1 Dec.

1868
 —
Conservative
(First Disraeli Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
Only ethnically Jewish Prime Minister; dissolved Parliament as the Conservatives did not have a majority.
William Ewart Gladstone
(1st ministry)
3 Dec. 1868
17 Feb.

1874
1868
Liberal
(First Gladstone Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Leader of the House of Commons

& Chancellor of the Exchequer (1873–74)
Introduced reforms to the British Army, Civil Service and local government; made peacetime flogging illegal; Irish Church Disestablishment Act 1869; Irish Land Act 1870; Education Act 1870; Trade Union Act 1871; Ballot Act 1872; Licensing Act 1872; failed to prevent the Franco-Prussian War.
Benjamin Disraeli
The Earl of Beaconsfield

(2nd ministry)
20 Feb. 1874
21 April 1880
1874
Conservative
(Second Disraeli Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Leader of the House of Commons (1874–1876),

Lord Privy Seal (1876–78)

& Leader of the House of Lords (1876–80)
Various social reforms including the Climbing Boys Act 1875, the Public Health Act 1875 and the Artisan's and Labourers' Dwellings Improvement Act 1875; purchase of shares in the Suez Canal Company; Congress of Berlin; reintroduction of Queen Victoria to public life, including bestowing the title Empress of India; Second Anglo-Afghan War; breaking up of the League of the Three Emperors; the Zulu War; start of Long Depression.
William Ewart Gladstone
(2nd ministry)
23 April 1880
9 June 1885
1880
Liberal
(Second Gladstone Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Leader of the House of Commons

& Chancellor of the Exchequer (1880–82)
First Boer War; Irish Coercion Act; Kilmainham Treaty; Phoenix Park Murders; Married Women's Property Act 1882; Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act 1883; Reform Act 1884, Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 (sometimes known collectively as the Third Reform Act); failure to rescue General Gordon in Khartoummarker, Sudanmarker.
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil
The Marquess of Salisbury

(1st ministry)
23 June 1885
28 Jan.

1886
1885
Conservative
(First Salisbury Ministry)
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

& Leader of the House of Lords
†Minority government. Legislation providing for housing the working class.
William Ewart Gladstone
(3rd ministry)
1 Feb. 1886
20 July 1886
1885
Liberal
(Third Gladstone Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Lord Privy Seal

& Leader of the House of Commons
First introduction of the Home Rule Bill for Irelandmarker, which split the Liberal Party, resulting in the end of Gladstone's government.
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil
The Marquess of Salisbury

(2nd ministry)
25 July 1886
11 Aug.

1892
1886
Conservative
(Second Salisbury Ministry)
Leader of the House of Lords,

First Lord of the Treasury (1886–87)

& Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1887–92)
Opposed Irish home rule; repeal of final Contagious Diseases Act; Local Government Act 1888; Partition of Africa; Free Education Act 1891; creation of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwemarker); New Unionism and London Dock Strike of 1889.
William Ewart Gladstone
(4th ministry)
15 Aug. 1892
2 March 1894
1892
Liberal
(Fourth Gladstone Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Lord Privy Seal

& Leader of the House of Commons
†Minority government. Reintroduction of the Home Rule Bill, which was passed by the House of Commonsmarker but rejected by the House of Lordsmarker leading to his resignation.
Archibald Primrose
The Earl of Rosebery
5 March 1894
22 June 1895
 —
Liberal
(Rosebery Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Lord President of the Council

& Leader of the House of Lords
Imperialist; plans for expanding the Royal Navy caused disagreement within the Liberal Party; resigned following a vote of censure over military supplies.
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil
The Marquess of Salisbury

(3rd ministry)
25 June 1895
11 July 1902
1895, 1900
Conservative
(Unionist Government)
Leader of the House of Lords,

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1895–1900)

& Lord Privy Seal (1900–02)
Workmen's Compensation Act 1897; Anglo-Zanzibar War; Second Boer War and Khaki election; Anglo-Japanese Alliance.
 
Portrait
Name
Term of office
Electoral mandates
Political party
Other ministerial offices
held while Prime Minister
Refs
Arthur Balfour
11 July 1902
5 Dec.

1905
 —
Conservative
(Unionist Government)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
Had poor relations with Edward VII; his cabinet was split over free trade; establishment of the Committee of Imperial Defence; Entente Cordiale; Education Act 1902; Taff Vale case.
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
5 Dec. 1905
7 April 1908
1906
Liberal
(Campbell-Bannerman Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
Restored autonomy to Transvaalmarker and the Orange Free Statemarker; Anglo-Russian Entente; first Prime Minister to be referred to as such in Parliamentary legislation.
Herbert Henry Asquith
7 April 1908
7 Dec.

1916
January 1910†,
December 1910
Liberal
(Liberal 1908–15;
Coalition 1915–16)

First Lord of the Treasury,

Leader of the House of Commons

& Secretary of State for War (1914)
†Hung Parliaments. Liberal Welfare Reforms; People's Budget; Parliament Act 1911; National Insurance and pensions; Suffragettes and the Cat and Mouse Act; Home Rule Act 1914; World War I; Easter Rising.
 
Portrait
Name
Term of office
Electoral mandates
Political party
Other ministerial offices
held while Prime Minister
Refs
David Lloyd George
7 Dec. 1916
19 Oct.

1922
1918
Liberal
(Coalition Government)
First Lord of the Treasury
Welsh-speaking: only Prime Minister whose mother tongue was not English. End of World War I; Paris Peace Conference; attempted to extend conscription to Ireland during the First World War; granted women over 30 the vote; formation of the Irish Free State.
Andrew Bonar Law
23 Oct. 1922
20 May 1923
1922
Conservative
(Bonar Law Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
Canadian-born: only Prime Minister born outside the British Isles. Resigned due to ill health; died six months after leaving office.
Stanley Baldwin
(1st ministry)
23 May 1923
16 Jan.

1924
 —
Conservative
(First Baldwin Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Leader of the House of Commons

& Chancellor of the Exchequer (1923)
Called a general election to gain a mandate for protectionist tariffs but failed to gain a majority; resigned after losing a vote of confidence.
Ramsay MacDonald
(1st ministry)
22 Jan. 1924
4 Nov.

1924
1923
Labour
(First MacDonald Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Leader of the House of Commons

& Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
†Hung Parliament; minority government reliant on Liberal support. First Labour Prime Minister; did not have a majority so could not introduce radical legislation; settled reparations with Germany following World War I; Zinoviev letter.
Stanley Baldwin
(2nd ministry)
4 Nov. 1924
5 June 1929
1924
Conservative
(Second Baldwin Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
Treaty of Locarno; signatory of the Kellogg-Briand Pact; Pensions Act; enfranchisement of women over 21; UK General Strike of 1926.
Ramsay MacDonald
(2nd ministry)
5 June 1929
24 Aug.

1931
1929
Labour
(Second MacDonald Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
†Hung Parliament. Appointed the first female minister, Margaret Bondfield; economic crises following the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
Ramsay MacDonald
(3rd ministry)
24 Aug. 1931
7 June 1935
1931
National Labour
(National Government)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
Unable to retain the support of the Labour Party, MacDonald officially resigned and was then re-appointed to form a National Government with the support of the Conservative and Liberal parties. He was expelled from the Labour Party.
Stanley Baldwin
(3rd ministry)
7 June 1935
28 May 1937
1935
Conservative
(National Government)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
Edward VIII abdication crisis; started rearmament but later criticised for failing to rearm more when Adolf Hitler broke Germany's Treaty of Versailles obligations.
 
Portrait
Name
Term of office
Electoral mandates
Political party
Other ministerial offices
held while Prime Minister
Refs
Neville Chamberlain
28 May 1937
10 May 1940
 —
Conservative
(National Government 1937–39;
War Government 1939–40)

First Lord of the Treasury

& Leader of the House of Commons
Attempted to prevent World War II through appeasement of Germany; widely criticised following the German invasion of Polandmarker; resigned after failing to form a Coalition Government.
Winston Churchill
(1st ministry)
10 May 1940
23 May 1945
 —
Conservative
(Coalition Government)
First Lord of the Treasury,

Minister of Defence

& Leader of the House of Commons (1940–42)
World War II; led a Coalition Government; foundation of the United Nations; proposed what would eventually lead to the European Union; Beveridge Report.
Winston Churchill
(2nd ministry)
23 May 1945
26 July 1945
 —
Conservative
(Caretaker Government)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Minister of Defence
Following the ending of his all-party coalition, Churchill formed a "caretaker" government out of Conservatives, Liberal Nationals and non-party figures. However after two months it was defeated in the 1945 general election.
Clement Attlee
26 July 1945
26 Oct.

1951
1945, 1950
Labour
(Attlee Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Minister of Defence (1945–46)
Initiated the post-war consensus; introduced nationalisation of utilities; foundation of the National Health Service; extended national insurance scheme; independence of India and the end of the British role in Palestine; foundation of NATOmarker; beginning of the Cold War; the Berlin Blockade and the resulting Berlin Airlift; the start of British involvement in the Korean War.
Sir Winston Churchill
(3rd ministry)
26 Oct. 1951
7 April 1955
1951
Conservative
(Third Churchill Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Minister of Defence (1951–52)
Domestic policy interrupted by foreign disputes (Korean War, Operation Ajax, Mau Mau Uprising, Malayan Emergency).
 
Portrait
Name
Term of office
Electoral mandates
Political party
Other ministerial offices
held while Prime Minister
Refs
Sir Anthony Eden
7 April 1955
10 Jan.

1957
1955
Conservative
(Eden Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury
Failed to prevent the Egyptian nationalisation of the Suez Canalmarker; invaded Egypt, leading to the Suez Crisis.
Harold Macmillan
10 Jan. 1957
19 Oct.

1963
1959
Conservative
(Macmillan Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury
The UK applied to join the European Economic Community for the first time, the application split the Conservatives and was vetoed by Charles de Gaulle; acceptance of Keynesianism; Rent Act 1957; Wind of Change speech; Notting Hill race riots and New Commonwealth immigration; beginning of Beeching Axe; Night of the Long Knives; Cuban missile crisis; Profumo Affair.
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
19 Oct. 1963
16 Oct.

1964
 —
Conservative
(Douglas-Home Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury
Was the Earl of Home when he became Prime Minister, and renounced his peerage on 23 October 1963 in order to stand for the House of Commons.
Harold Wilson
(1st ministry)
16 Oct. 1964
19 June 1970
1964, 1966
Labour
(First Wilson Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Minister for the Civil Service (1968-70)
Social reforms, including legalisation of abortion and decriminalisation of homosexuality; Rhodesian U.D.I.; adopted, then abandoned, the National Plan for the economy; Devaluation of the pound; foundation of the Open Universitymarker; dispute over In Place of Strife trade union reforms.
Edward Heath
19 June 1970
4 March 1974
1970
Conservative
(Heath Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Minister for the Civil Service
U-turned over intervention in industry; negotiated Britain's entry to the European Community; Violence due to Northern Ireland'smarker "Troubles" peaked; the Sunningdale Agreement agreed; Three-Day Week; called early election in backfiring attempt to confront striking miners.
Harold Wilson
(2nd ministry)
4 March 1974
5 April 1976
February 1974†,
October 1974
Labour
(Second Wilson Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Minister for the Civil Service
†Hung Parliament. Ended dispute with miners; Social Contract with trade unions over the economy; Health and Safety at Work Act; Renegotiated terms for EC membership, then 1975 referendum validated entry; North Sea oil, Cod War.
James Callaghan
5 April 1976
4 May 1979
 —
Labour
(Callaghan Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Minister for the Civil Service
International Monetary Fundmarker loan to support the pound; the Lib-Lab pact; enacted devolution to Scotlandmarker and Walesmarker but referendums stopped them; relations with trade unions broke down in the Winter of Discontent.
Margaret Thatcher
4 May 1979
28 Nov.

1990
1979, 1983, 1987
Conservative
(Thatcher Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Minister for the Civil Service
First female Prime Minister of the UK; Falklands War; sold council housing to tenants (right to buy); miners' strike 1984–85; privatisation of many previously government-owned industries; decreased the power of trade unions; negotiation of the UK rebate towards the European Community budget; Brighton hotel bombingmarker; Sino-British joint declaration; Anglo-Irish Agreement; Westland Affair; abolition of GLC; Section 28; the "Poll tax"; Lockerbie bombing, the end of the Cold War.
John Major
28 Nov. 1990
2 May 1997
1992
Conservative
(Major Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Minister for the Civil Service
Early 1990s recession; Gulf War; ratification of the Maastricht Treaty and the Maastricht Rebels; forced exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism ("Black Wednesday"); the Downing Street Declaration (initiating the Northern Ireland peace process); Citizen's Charter; Sunday Shopping; "Back to Basics" campaign; Cones Hotline; Dangerous Dogs Act.
Tony Blair
2 May 1997
27 June 2007
1997, 2001, 2005
Labour
(Blair Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Minister for the Civil Service
Hong Kong handover; Death of Diana, Princess of Wales; Independence for the Bank of Englandmarker; Ecclestone tobacco controversy; Belfast Agreement; Human Rights Act; devolution to Scotlandmarker and Walesmarker; House of Lords Reform; Minimum wage introduced; Kosovo War; creation of Greater London Authority and Mayoralty of London; War in Afghanistan; Iraq War; top-up fees introduced for university tuition; Civil Partnership Act; Constitutional Reform Act 2005; 2005 London bombings; Cash for Honours scandal; National identity cards introduced.
Gordon Brown
27 June 2007
Incumbent
 —
Labour
(Brown Ministry)
First Lord of the Treasury

& Minister for the Civil Service
London car bombs; Glasgow Airport attackmarker; foot-and-mouth outbreak marker; national floods of 2007; child benefit data misplaced; Donorgate; Northern Rock nationalisation; Treaty of Lisbon; 42 Days detention; 10p Tax rate; Financial crisis of 2007–2009; Parliamentary expenses scandal; arrest of Damien Green; 2009 flu pandemic; national floods of 2009.

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