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Leader of the House of Lords: Holders of the Post

Published Friday, July 15, 2016

This Lords Library briefing provides background information about the office of Leader of the House of Lords and lists those who have held this position since 1963.

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Background

On 14 July 2016, it was announced that Baroness Evans of Bowes Park had been appointed as Leader of the House of Lords, replacing Baroness Stowell of Beeston. Baroness Evans was made a life Peer in 2014 and is currently the youngest female Member of the House. Her appointment to the position at the age of 40 makes her the youngest Leader of the House of Lords in modern times. Lord Windlesham was 41 when appointed in 1973. Of those who previously held the post, Lord Grenville was 31 when appointed in 1790 and Earl Granville was 39 on appointment to the position in 1855.

Name

Period in Office

Baroness Stowell of Beeston

July 2014–July 2016

Lord Hill of Oareford

January 2013–July 2014

Lord Strathclyde

May 2010–January 2013

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

October 2008–May 2010

Baroness Ashton of Upholland

June 2007–October 2008

Baroness Amos

September 2003–June 2007

Lord Williams of Mostyn

June 2001–September 2003

Baroness Jay of Paddington

July 1998–May 2001

Lord Richard

May 1997–July 1998

Viscount Cranborne

July 1994–May 1997

Lord Wakeham

April 1992–July 1994

Lord Waddington

December 1990–March 1992

Lord Belstead

January 1988–December 1990

Viscount Whitelaw

June 1983–January 1988

Baroness Young

September 1981–May 1983

Lord Soames

May 1979–September 1981

Lord Peart

September 1976–May 1979

Lord Shepherd

February 1974–September 1976

Lord Windlesham

June 1973–February 1974

Earl Jellicoe

June 1970–June 1973

Lord Shackleton

January 1968–June 1970

Earl of Longford

October 1964–January 1968

Lord Carrington

October 1963–October 1964

Roles and Responsibilities in the House

The Leader of the House of Lords performs a dual role. The Leader has overall responsibility for the passage of government legislation through the House of Lords, exercised jointly with the Lords Chief Whip. In addition to leading the government benches, the Leader repeats statements made by the Prime Minister in the Commons and assists and advises all Members of the House of Lords. At question time it is the Leader, rather than the Lord Speaker, who advises the House when to move on to the next question or assists when two (or more) Members rise at the same time. Therefore, the Leader, alongside other Members of the front benches, has a role in interventions. They also take part in formal ceremonies in the House, such as the State Opening of Parliament.

The term ‘Leader of the House’ as applied to the House of Lords only acquired general usage in the mid-19th century, although the position evolved towards the beginning of the previous century. Charles Spencer, the third Earl of Sunderland, was the first Peer responsible for the management of the House of Lords from around 1717.

Lords In Focus LIF-2016-0039

Author: Matthew Purvis

Topics: House of Lords, Members of the Lords

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