Leader of the House of Lords


Leader of the House of Lords

Infobox minister office
border = parliamentary
minister = not_prime
office = Leader of the House of Lords


incumbent = The Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
tookoffice = 03 October 2008
appointed_by = Gordon Brown
governor = Prime Minister
first_minister = Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend
date = 1721

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.

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

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."
*Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend 1721-1730
* ? 1730-1742
*John Carteret, 2nd Baron Carteret 1742-1744
*Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle 1744-1756
*William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire 1756-1757
*Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle 1757-1762
*John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute 1762-1763
*? 1763-1765
*Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham 1765-1766
*Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton 1766-1770
*? 1770-1782
*Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham 1782
*William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne 1782-1783
*William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 1783
*Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney 1783-1789
*Francis Godolphin Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds 1789-1790
*William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville 1790-1801
*Thomas Pelham, 2nd Baron Pelham 1801-1803
*Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Baron Hawkesbury 1803-1806
*William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville 1806-1807
*Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Baron Hawkesbury (2nd Earl of Liverpool from 1808) 1807-1827
*Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich 1827-1828
*Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington 1828-1830
*Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (November 22, 1830 - July 9, 1834)
*William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (July 16, 1834 - November 14, 1834)
*Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (November 17, 1834 - April 8, 1835)
*William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (April 18, 1835 - August 30, 1841)
*Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (September 3, 1841 - June 27, 1846)
*Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (July 6, 1846 - February 21, 1852)
*Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby (February 23, 1852 - December 17, 1852)
*George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen (December 19, 1852 - January 30, 1855)
*Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville (February 8, 1855 - February 21, 1858)
*Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby (February 21, 1858 - June 11, 1859)
*Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville (June 18, 1859 - October 29, 1865)
*John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (October 29, 1865 - June 26, 1866)
*Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby (June 28, 1866 - February 25, 1868)
*James Howard Harris, 3rd Earl of Malmesbury (February 27, 1868 - December 1, 1868)
*Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville (December 9, 1868 - February 17, 1874)
*Charles Gordon-Lennox, 6th Duke of Richmond (February 21, 1874 - August 21, 1876)
*Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (August 21, 1876 - April 21, 1880)
*Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville (April 28, 1880 - June 9, 1885)
*Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (June 23, 1885 - January 28, 1886)
*Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville (February 6, 1886 - July 20, 1886)
*Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (July 25, 1886 - August 11, 1892)
*John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley (August 18, 1892 - March 5, 1894)
*Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery (March 5, 1894 - June 21, 1895)
*Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (June 25, 1895 - July 11, 1902)

20th-Century Leaders

ee also

* House of Lords
* Leader of the House of Commons

Links

Leader of the House of Lords Official site [http://www.lordsleader.gov.uk]


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