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Resignation Honours: Peerage Creations since 1958

Published Wednesday, September 11, 2019

This House of Lords Library briefing provides a list of prime ministerial resignation honours that have included the awarding of peerages.

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Since 1958, only a small number of prime ministers have issued a resignation honours list. However, of those prime ministers who left office mid-term, only Tony Blair did not issue such a list.

On certain occasions combined resignation and dissolution honours lists have been published following general elections. There can also be a lack of clarity in terms of categorisation. For example, the press release containing what were widely seen as Gordon Brown’s resignation honours did not explicitly categorise them as such. It said “the previous Prime Minister (the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP) undertook a process to recommend to the Queen new party-political life peerages. This consisted of working peers from each party and, as is customary at the end of a Parliament, a dissolution list for former MPs”. The combined list contained 55 names of which the “Working Peers List” had 32 names, of which 10 were Conservatives, 6 Liberal Democrats and 16 Labour. Because of this lack of clarity, for the purposes of compiling this table, an assumption has been made that the 16 Labour nominations constituted Gordon Brown’s resignation honours. However, were the working peers list taken as resignation honours the number would be 32.

The table below therefore shows the number of individuals recommended for peerages for each resigning prime minister. With the exception of the Brown list, this will include numbers nominated from their own and other parties, as well as those nominated to sit as crossbenchers or non-affiliated, the date announced and the Prime Minister under whom the peerages were then created.

Prime Minister Leaving Office Number of New Peerages Announced Date Announced Prime Minister in Office When Announced
Harold Macmillan 1 18 October 1963 Alec Douglas-Home
Alec Douglas-Home 9 01 December 1964 Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson 8 02 June 1976 James Callaghan
Margaret Thatcher 7 20 December 1990 John Major
John Major 10 01 August 1997 Tony Blair
Gordon Brown 16 28 May 2010 David Cameron
David Cameron 16 04 August 2016 Theresa May
Theresa May 19 10 September 2019 Boris Johnson

Lords Library notes LLN-2019-0071

Author: Matthew Purvis

Topic: House of Lords

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