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Peerages Awarded to Former Prime Ministers: 1902–2019

Published Friday, December 13, 2019

This House of Lords Library briefing lists former prime ministers who have held office since 1902, together with information on whether the individuals received a peerage after leaving the House of Commons.

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  • Of the 22 former prime ministers who have served since 1902, half (11) received a peerage entitling membership of the House of Lords after departing the House of Commons.
  • Of the 11 former prime ministers to have received a peerage, 7 received a hereditary earldom. However, this practice has fallen into disuse in recent decades. Harold Macmillan, who served as prime minister between 1957 and 1963, was the last former prime minister to receive an earldom. He became the Earl of Stockton in 1984. Since 1999, a hereditary earldom has not automatically entitled the bearer to a seat in the House of Lords.
  • The remaining 4 received life peerages under the Life Peerages Act 1958. Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who served as prime minister between 1963 and 1964, was the first former prime minister to receive a life peerage. He was created Lord Home of the Hirsel in 1974, having disclaimed a hereditary earldom previously.
  • The most recent former prime minister to receive a peerage was Margaret Thatcher. Her life peerage was conferred in 1992, after which she was known as Baroness Thatcher.
  • Of the 5 former prime ministers to have served since Margaret Thatcher left office, none has received a peerage. Theresa May remains an MP in the House of Commons.

Lords Library notes LLN-2019-0159

Author: Thomas Brown

Topics: House of Lords, Members of the Lords, Parliament

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House of Lords Library

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