Leader of the Labour Party (UK)
   HOME

TheInfoList




The Leader of the Labour Party is the head of the
Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" Antigua and Barbuda *Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Argentina *Labour Party (Argentina) Armenia ...
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
. The current leader is
Sir Keir Starmer Sir Keir Rodney Starmer (born 2 September 1962) is a British politician and former lawyer who has served as Leader of the Labour PartyThe title Leader of the Labour Party may refer to: *Leader of the Labour Party (Ireland) *Leader of the Labo ...
, who was elected in April 2020 to succeed
Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Bernard Corbyn (; born 26 May 1949) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Labour PartyThe title Leader of the Labour Party may refer to: *Leader of the Labour Party (Ireland) *Leader of the Labour Party (Netherlands) *Lea ...

Jeremy Corbyn
, having previously spent 9 months as Shadow Minister of Immigration and 3 years, 5 months as
Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union In British politics, the Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, or informally Shadow Brexit Secretary, was a position within the Official Opposition, opposition's Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet (United Kingdom), shadow cab ...
in Corbyn's shadow cabinet.


History

The post of Leader of the Labour Party was officially created in 1922. Before this, between when Labour MPs were first elected in
1906 Events January–February * January 12 Events Pre-1600 *49 BC – Julius Caesar crosses the Rubikon at the head of the 13th Legion. Civil war between the former allies, Caesar and Pompey, is now inevitable. *475 – List o ...
and the general election in
1922 Events January * January – The year begins with the British Empire at its largest extent, covering a quarter of the world and ruling over one in four people on Earth. * January 2 – The Chilean Communist Party is founded. * January 7 ...
, when substantial gains were made, the post was known as Chairman of the
Parliamentary Labour Party In UK politics, the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) is the parliamentary party A parliamentary group, parliamentary party, or parliamentary caucus is a group consisting of members of the same political party or electoral fusion of parties i ...
.Thorpe, Andrew. (2001) ''A History of the British Labour Party'', Palgrave, In 1970, the positions of leader of the Labour Party and chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party were separated. In 1921,
John R. Clynes
John R. Clynes
became the first leader of the Labour Party to have been born in
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
; all party leaders before him had been born in
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
. In
1924 Events January * January 10 Events Pre-1600 *49 BC __NOTOC__ Year 49 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lentulus and Marcellus (or, less frequently, year 7 ...
,
Ramsay MacDonald James Ramsay MacDonald (; 12 October 18669 November 1937) was the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or seco ...

Ramsay MacDonald
became the first ever
Labour Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 13 ...
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the 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 transpa ...
, leading a minority government which lasted nine months.
Clement Attlee Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, (3 January 18838 October 1967) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head o ...

Clement Attlee
would become the first Labour leader to lead a majority government in 1945 United Kingdom general election, 1945. The first to be born in Wales was Neil Kinnock, who was elected in 1983 Labour Party leadership election (UK), 1983. The most electorally successful leaders of the Labour Party to date are Tony Blair, who won three consecutive electoral victories in 1997 United Kingdom general election, 1997, 2001 United Kingdom general election, 2001 (both landslide victory, landslide victories), and 2005 United Kingdom general election, 2005, and Harold Wilson, who won four general elections out of five contested, in 1964 United Kingdom general election, 1964, 1966 United Kingdom general election, 1966, February 1974 United Kingdom general election, February 1974 and October 1974 United Kingdom general election, October 1974. , the only Labour leaders not to contest a general election (excluding temporary acting leaders) are George Lansbury (who stood down), John Smith (Labour Party leader), John Smith (who died in office), and Keir Starmer.


Selection

Unlike other British political party leaders, the Labour leader does not have the power to dismiss or appoint their deputy. Both the leader and deputy leader are elected by an Instant-runoff voting, alternative vote system. From 1980 to 2014 an electoral college was used, with a third of the votes allocated to the Party's List of Labour Party (UK) MPs, MPs and List of members of the European Parliament 2009–2014, MEPs, a third to individual members of the Labour Party, and a third to individual members of all affiliated organisations, including Socialist society (Labour Party), socialist societies and Affiliated trade union, trade unions. The 2015 Labour Party leadership election (UK), 2015 leadership election used a "one member, one vote" system, in which the votes of party members and members of affiliated organisations are counted equally. MPs' and MEPs' votes are not counted separately, although a candidate needs to receive the support of 10% of Labour MPs in order to appear on the ballot.


Role

When the Labour Party is in Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (United Kingdom), opposition, as it currently is, the leader of the Labour Party usually acts (as the second largest party) as the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, Leader of the Opposition, and chairs the Shadow Cabinet (UK), shadow cabinet. Concordantly, when the Party is in Her Majesty's Government, government, the leader would usually become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, prime minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service, as well as appointing the Cabinet (UK), cabinet.


Leaders of the Labour Party (1906–present)

A list of leaders (including acting leaders) since 1906. * Arthur Henderson and
Ramsay MacDonald James Ramsay MacDonald (; 12 October 18669 November 1937) was the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or seco ...

Ramsay MacDonald
were leaders after their initial tenures twice and once more respectively, therefore, their subsequent tenures do not count separately.


Retirement

It is not uncommon for a retired leader of the Labour Party to be granted a peerage upon their retirement, particularly if they served as
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the 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 transpa ...
; examples of this include
Clement Attlee Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, (3 January 18838 October 1967) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head o ...

Clement Attlee
and Harold Wilson. However, Neil Kinnock was also elevated to the House of Lords, despite never being prime minister, and Michael Foot declined a similar offer.


Living former party leaders

There are seven living former party leaders: five elected and two acting. From oldest to youngest:


See also

*History of the Labour Party (UK) *Leader of the Conservative Party (UK) *Leader of the Liberal Democrats


Notes


References


Further reading

* {{UK Labour Party Leaders of the Labour Party (UK), Labour Party (UK)-related lists Lists of leaders of political parties, Labour UK