Leader of the House of Lords
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The leader of the House of Lords is a member of the
Cabinet of the United Kingdom The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the senior decision-making body of His Majesty's Government. A committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, Privy Council, it is chaired by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, prime minister a ...
who is responsible for arranging government business in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
. The post is also the leader of the majority party in the House of Lords who acts as the government party chairperson in the house. The role is always held in combination with a formal Cabinet position, usually one of the
sinecure A sinecure ( or ; from the Latin , 'without', and , 'care') is an office, carrying a salary or otherwise generating income, that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. The term originated in the medieval chu ...
offices of Lord President of the Council, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal or
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is a ministerial office in the Government of the United Kingdom. The position is the second highest ranking minister in the Cabinet Office, immediately after the Prime Minister, and senior to the Minist ...
. Unless the Leader is also a departmental minister, being Leader constitutes the bulk of their government responsibilities, but it has never been an independent salaried office. The
Office of the Leader of the House of Lords , seal = Office of the Leader of the House of Lords logo.svg , seal_width = 200px , type = Department , formed = 4 April 1721 , preceding1 = , jurisdiction = , headquarters = Government Offices Great ...
is a ministerial department. Though the leader of the House is a member of the cabinet and remains a partisan figure, the leader also has responsibilities to the House as a whole. In contrast to the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
, 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 The Lord Speaker is the presiding officer, chairman and highest authority of the House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is ...
, the Leader of the House 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 George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax, (11 November 1633 – 5 April 1695), was an English statesman, writer, and politician who sat in the House of Commons of England, House of Commons in 1660, and in the House of Lords after he was raised to ...
, 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 A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
and the system of Cabinet government. In the wake of the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists led by Charles I ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of Kingdom of England, England's governanc ...
, the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus , also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or ''Glorious Crossing'' in the Netherlands, is the sequence of events leading to the deposition of King James II and ...
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. The Earl of Sunderland initiated aspects of the role during the
Whig Junto The Whig Junto is the name given to a group of leading British Whig Party, Whigs who were seen to direct the management of the Whigs (British political party), Whig Party and often the government, during the reigns of William III of England, Wil ...
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 Lord Privy Seal (or, more formally, the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal) is the fifth of the Great Officers of State (United Kingdom), Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and abov ...
. The first documentary evidence of the existence of the role comes from 1717, when Sunderland became
Secretary of State for the Northern Department The Secretary of State for the Northern Department was a position in the Cabinet (government), Cabinet of the government of Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain up to 1782, when the Northern Department became the Foreign Office. History Bef ...
: in the form of lists of peers invited to the office of the Northern Secretary immediately before sessions of Parliament. When the
Prime Minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
sat in the House of Lords, which was common until the beginning of the twentieth century, he usually held the position of Leader of the House of Lords. When the Prime Minister sat in the Commons, the position of Leader of the Lords was often held by the
Foreign Secretary The secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, known as the foreign secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), minister of the Crown of the Government of the United Kingdom and head of the Foreign, Commonwe ...
or Colonial Secretary. In some coalition governments, it was held by the party leader who was not Prime Minister. Since the end of the
Marquess of Salisbury Marquess of Salisbury is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain The Peerage of Great Britain comprises all extant peerages created in the Kingdom of Great Britain between the Acts of Union 1707 and the Acts of Union 1800. It replaced th ...
'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 Quintin Hogg, 2nd Viscount Hailsham also being designated "Minister for Science" or Margaret Baroness Jay also being "Minister for Women". The first female Leader of the Lords was Janet Young, Baroness Young in 1981–1983. Lord Peart, Viscount Whitelaw and Lord Wakeham served as Leader of the Lords having previously been
Leader of the House of Commons The leader of the House of Commons is a minister of the Crown of the Government of the United Kingdom whose main role is organising government business in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons. The leader is generally a m ...
.


Families

*
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (; 3 February 183022 August 1903) was a British statesman and Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom three times for a ...
served as Leader of the House of Lords from 1885 to 1886, from 1886 to 1892 and from 1895 to 1902. His son
James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury James Edward Hubert Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, (23 October 1861 – 4 April 1947), known as Viscount Cranborne from 1868 to 1903, was a British statesman. Background and education Born in London, Salisbury was the eldest son ...
served as Leader from 1925 to 1929. His son in turn, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury served as Leader first from 1942 to 1945 as Viscount Cranborne by means of a
writ of acceleration A writ in acceleration, commonly called a writ of acceleration, is a type of Hereditary peer#Writs of summons, writ of summons that enabled the eldest son and heir apparent of a peerage, peer with more than one peerage to attend the British House ...
, and as the Marquess of Salisbury from 1951 to 1957. His grandson, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury, served as Leader from 1994 to 1997, as Viscount Cranborne, again by means of a writ of acceleration. *
Douglas Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham Douglas McGarel Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham (28 February 1872 – 16 August 1950) was a British lawyer and Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician who twice served as Lord Chancellor, in addition to a number of other Cabinet positions. ...
served as Leader of the House of Lords from 1931 to 1935. His son Quintin Hogg, 2nd Viscount Hailsham served as Leader from 1960 to 1963.


Responsibilities

*Management and delivery of the Government's legislative programme (through the
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
) and facilitating the passage of individual bills. *Leading the House (in the Chamber and as a key member of domestic committees to do with procedure, conduct, and the internal governance of the House). *Issues connected to the House of Lords and its governance. *Speaking for the Government in the Chamber on a range of issues, including repeating in the House of Lords statements made to the Commons by the
Prime Minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
. *Ceremonial and other duties as the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal.


List

''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.''


Deputy Leaders

The following peers have served as Deputy Leaders of the House of Lords since 1963: * The Viscount Blakenham 1963–1964 * The Lord Champion 1964–1967 * The Lord Shackleton 1967–1968 * The Lord Shepherd 1968–1970 * The Lord Aberdare 1970–1974 * The Lord Beswick 1974–1975 * The Lord Goronwy-Roberts 1975–1979 * The Earl Ferrers 1979–1983 * The Lord Belstead 1983–1988 * The Earl Ferrers 1988–1997 * The Baroness Jay of Paddington 1997–1998 * The Lord Williams of Mostyn 1998–2001 * The Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean 2001–2005 * The Lord Rooker 2005–2008 * The Lord Hunt of Kings Heath 2008–2010 * The Lord McNally 2010–2013 * The Lord Wallace of Tankerness 2013–2015 * The Earl Howe 2015–present


See also

*
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
*
Leader of the House of Commons The leader of the House of Commons is a minister of the Crown of the Government of the United Kingdom whose main role is organising government business in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons. The leader is generally a m ...


References


External links


Leader of the House of Lords Official site

UK Parliamentary Archives, Records of the Leader of the House of Lords
{{Cabinet Office 1717 establishments in Great Britain Lords House of Lords