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The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the
Great Officers of State Government in medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people o ...
of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, ranking below the
Lord High Treasurer The post of Lord High Treasurer or Lord Treasurer was an English government position and has been a British government ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_siz ...
but above the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends and is responsible for presiding over meetings of the
Privy Council of the United Kingdom The Privy Council of the United Kingdom, officially Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, or known simply as the Privy Council, is a privy council, formal body of advisers to the British monarchy, sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its ...
, presenting business for the monarch's approval. In the modern era, the holder is by convention always a member of one of the Houses of
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kin ...
, and the office is normally a
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
post.


The office and its history

The Privy Council meets once a month, wherever the sovereign may be residing at the time, to give formal approval to
Orders in Council An Order in Council is a type of legislation in many countries, especially the Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that ...
. Only a few privy counsellors need attend such meetings, and only when invited to do so at the government's request. As the duties of the Lord President are not onerous, the post has often been given to a government minister whose responsibilities are not department-specific. In recent years it has been most typical for the Lord President also to serve as
Leader of the House of Commons The leader of the House of Commons is generally a member or attendee of the cabinet of the United Kingdom. The House of Commons devotes approximately three-quarters of its time to debating and explaining government business, such as Bill (law), ...
or
Leader of the House of Lords The leader of the House of Lords is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is a group of the most senior ministers of the crown Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Co ...
. The Lord President has no role in the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the highest court of appeal An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), somet ...
. Unlike some of the other Great Officers of State, the office of Lord President is not very old (relative to the over 1,000-year history of government in the British Isles), the first certain appointment to the office being that of the Duke of Suffolk in 1529. (Although there is a reference to
Edmund Dudley Edmund Dudley (c. 1462Gunn 2010 or 1471/147217 August 1510) was an English administrator and a financial agent of Henry VII of England, King Henry VII. He served as a leading member of the Council Learned in the Law, Speaker of the House of ...
serving as 'president of the council' in 1497, it was only in 1529 that the role was given the style and precedence of a Great Officer of State by Act of Parliament (''An Act that the President of the King's Counsel shall be associate with the Chancellor and Treasurer of England, and the Keeper of the King's Privy Seal'').) Prior to 1679 there were several periods in which the office was left vacant. In the 19th century, the Lord President was generally the cabinet member responsible for the education system, amongst his other duties. This role was gradually scaled back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but remnants of it remain, such as the oversight of the governance of various universities. During times of
National National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Level of analysis ...
or
coalition government A coalition government is a form of government in which political parties cooperate to form a government. The usual reason for such an arrangement is that no single party has achieved an absolute majority after an election An election is a ...
the office of Lord President has sometimes been held by the leader of a minority party (e.g.
Baldwin Baldwin is a Germanic name, composed of the elements ''bald'' "bold" and ''win'' "friend". People * Baldwin (name) Places Canada * Baldwin, York Regional Municipality, Ontario * Baldwin, Ontario, in Sudbury District United States * Bal ...
1931–1935,
MacDonald #REDIRECT Macdonald#Notable people: MacDonald surname ...

MacDonald
1935–1937,
Attlee Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, (3 January 18838 October 1967) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955. He was Deputy Prime Minister ...

Attlee
1943–1945,
Clegg
Clegg
2010–2015). It has been suggested that the office has been intermittently used for Prime Ministerial deputies in the past. A particularly vital role was played by the Lord President of the Council during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. The Lord President served as chairman of the
Lord President's Committee The Lord President's Committee was a United Kingdom cabinet committee during the World War II, Second World War. This committee oversaw many aspects of home affairs, most notably the economy, and was vital to the smooth running of the British war e ...
. This committee acted as a central clearing house which dealt with the country's economic problems. This was vital to the smooth running of the British
war economy A war economy or wartime economy is the set of contingencies undertaken by a modern state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The ...
and consequently the entire British war effort.
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The hea ...

Winston Churchill
, clearly believing that this wartime co-ordinating role was beneficial, introduced a similar but expanded
system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, structure and purp ...
in the first few years of his post-war premiership. The so-called 'overlord ministers' included Frederick Leathers as Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power and Lord Woolton as Lord President. Woolton's job was to co-ordinate the then separate ministries of agriculture and food. The historian
Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield
Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield
quotes a PhD thesis by Michael Kandiah saying that Woolton was "arguably the most successful of the Overlords" partly because his ministries were quite closely related; indeed, they were merged in 1955 as the
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food An agriculture ministry (also called an) agriculture department, agriculture board, agriculture council, or agriculture agency, or ministry of rural development) is a Ministry (government department), ministry charged with agriculture. The minist ...
. On several occasions since 1954, non-British Ministers have served briefly as acting Lords President of the Council, solely to preside over a meeting of the Privy Council held in a
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
. Examples of this practice are the meetings in
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
in 1990 and 1995, when
Geoffrey Palmer Geoffrey Palmer may refer to: Politicians *Sir Geoffrey Palmer, 1st Baronet (1598–1670), English lawyer and politician *Sir Geoffrey Palmer, 3rd Baronet (1655–1732), English politician, Member of Parliament (MP) for Leicestershire *Geoffrey Pal ...
and James Bolger respectively were acting Lords President. Before the
2010 United Kingdom general election The 2010 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 6 May 2010, with 45,597,461 registered voters entitled to vote to elect members to the House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower hou ...
, the Lord President was
The Lord Mandelson
The Lord Mandelson
, who was also
First Secretary of State First Secretary of State is an office sometimes held by a minister in the Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size=220px, dat ...
and
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills The secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, also referred to as the business secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with overall responsibility fo ...
. This was the first time that the Lord President had not been a leader of one of the two Houses since the period 20 October 1963 to 16 October 1964, when Quintin Hogg (2nd Viscount Hailsham until November 1963), after resigning his post as
Leader of the House of Lords The leader of the House of Lords is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is a group of the most senior ministers of the crown Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Co ...
, held the office along with the offices of Minister for Sport and, from 1 April 1964, also of Secretary of State for Education and Science.
Andrea Leadsom Andrea Jacqueline Leadsom (; ' Salmon; born 13 May 1963) is a Conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as w ...
's appointment in June 2017 was the first in some time where the post holder was not a full
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
member.


Visitorial role

The Lord President also serves as the
visitor A visitor, in England and Wales, English and Welsh law and history, is an overseer of an autonomous church body, ecclesiastical or wikt:eleemosynary, eleemosynary institution, often a charitable organization, charitable institution set up for t ...
for several English universities, including: *
University of Birmingham The University of Birmingham (informally Birmingham University) is a public university, public research university located in Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Queen's College, Birmingh ...

University of Birmingham
*
University of Bristol , mottoeng = earning Earning can refer to: *Labour (economics) *Earnings of a company *Merit (disambiguation), Merit {{disambig