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List of British Prime Ministers

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The Prime Ministers of Britain (technically of the United Kingdom) are the Head of Government in that nation, though the Head of State is the reigning King or Queen. In modern British government and politics, the Queen is said to “reign, but she does not rule,” meaning that while she is the Queen, and has certain powers, all true political power rests with the elected representatives of the people. To this end, voters in Britain select, in elections, Members of Parliament to form the legislative branch of government (in the United States, the legislative branch is Congress). The political party with the most members in Parliament (or a coalition of parties if none has a majority), selects the Prime Minister, who becomes the leader of the government.

 

While the term Prime Minister was used informally since at least the 1730s, it was only first used officially by the government in a document in 1878 in a document signed by Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.

 

Historians consider Robert Walpole to be the first Prime Minister who became head of government in 1721. The current British Prime Minister is Boris Johnson, who won election in 2019.

 

Below is the list of British Prime Ministers, with the years they served, the political party to which they belonged, and which monarch reigned during their time in office. Several Prime Ministers served more than once.

 

 

Sir Robert Walpole (1721-1742) -Whig Party-During the reigns of King George I and George II

 

Spencer Compton, the 1st Earl of Wilmington (1742-1743)-Whig Party -During the reigns of King George II

 

Henry Pelham (1743-1754)-Whig Party -During the reign of King George II

 

Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle (1754-1756) -Whig Party -During the reign of King George II

 

William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire (1756-1757) -Whig Party -During the reign of King George II

 

Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle (1757-1762) -Whig Party -During the reigns of King George II and George III

 

John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1762-1763) -Tory Party -During the reign of King George III

 

George Grenville (1763-1765) -Whig Party -During the reign of King George III

 

Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham (1765-1766) -Whig Party -During the reign of King George III

 

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (1766-1768) -Whig Party -During the reign of King George III

 

Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton (1768-1770) -Whig Party -During the reign of King George III

 

Frederick North, Lord North (1770-1782) -Tory Party -During the reign of King George III **Prime Minister during most of the American Revolution. Lost the American colonies.

 

Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham (1782) -Whig Party -During the reign of King George III [PM for only 97 days]

 

William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne (1782-1783) -Whig Party -During the reign of King George III

 

William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1783) -Whig Party -During the reign of King George III

 

William Pitt the Younger (1783-1801) -Tory Party -During the reign of King George III **Prime Minister during the start of the wars against France in the French Revolutionary Wars and the first part of the Napoleonic Wars.

 

Henry Addington (1801-1804) -Tory Party -During the reign of King George III **Prime Minister during part of the Napoleonic Wars

 

William Pitt the Younger (1804-1806) -Tory Party -During the reign of King George III **Prime Minister during part of the Napoleonic Wars

 

William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville (1806-1807) -Whig Party -During the reign of King George III **Prime Minister during part of the Napoleonic Wars

 

William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1807-1809) -Tory Party -During the reign of King George III **Prime Minister during part of the Napoleonic Wars

 

Spencer Perceval (1809-1812) -Tory Party -During the reign of King George III **Prime Minister during part of the Napoleonic Wars. Perceval was assassinated in 1812 in part due to his harsh domestic policies in support of the war effort.

 

Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool (1812-1827) -Tory Party -During the reigns of Kings George III and George IV **Prime Minister during the last part of the Napoleonic Wars and the whole of the War of 1812 with the United States, though the lead up to that war was under Perceval's government. Under Jenkinson, Britain took part in the post-Napoleonic Wars Congress of Vienna that reshaped the map of Europe.

 

George Canning (1827) -Tory Party -During the reign of King George IV

 

Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich (1827-1828) -Tory Party -During the reign of King George IV

 

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1828-1830) -Tory Party -During the reigns of Kings George IV and William IV

 

Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (1830-1834) -Whig Party -During the reign of King William IV

 

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (1834) -Whig Party -During the reign of King William IV

 

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1834) -Tory Party -During the reign of King William IV [PM for only 23 days-considered a caretaker government]

 

Sir Robert Peel (1834-1835) -Conservative Party -During the reign of King William IV

 

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (1835-1841) -Whig Party -During the reign of King William IV

 

Sir Robert Peel (1841-1846) -Conservative Party -During the reign of King William IV and Queen Victoria

 

Lord John Russell (1846-1852) -Whig Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby (1852) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen (1852-1855) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria **Prime Minister who led Britain into the Crimean War

 

Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1855-1858) -Whig Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby (1858-1859) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1859-1865) -Liberal Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (1865-1866) -Liberal Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby (1866-1868) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

Benjamin Disraeli (1868) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

William Ewart Gladstone (1868-1874) -Liberal Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (1874-1880) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

William Ewart Gladstone (1880-1885) -Liberal Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (1885-1885) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

William Ewart Gladstone (1885-1886) -Liberal Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (1886-1892) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

William Ewart Gladstone (1892-1894) -Liberal Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery (1894-1895) -Liberal Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria

 

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (1895-1902) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII **Prime Minister during the first part of the Second Boer War (AKA the South African War)

 

Arthur Balfour (1902-1905) -Conservative Party -During the reign of King Edward VII **Prime Minister during last part of the Second Boer War

 

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1905-1908) -Liberal Party -During the reign of King Edward VII

 

H. H. Asquith (1908-1916) -Liberal Party -During the reigns of King Edward VII and George V **PM during first part of World War One

 

David Lloyd George (1916-1922) -Liberal Party -During the reign of King George V **PM during last part of World War One and the Irish War

 

Bonar Law (1922-1923) -Conservative Party -During the reign of King George V

 

Stanley Baldwin (1923-1924) -Conservative Party -During the reign of King George V

 

Ramsay MacDonald (1924) -Labour Party -During the reign of King George V

 

Stanley Baldwin (1924-1929) -Conservative Party -During the reign of King George V

 

Ramsay MacDonald (1929-1935) -Labour Party/National Labour Party -During the reign of King George V

 

Stanley Baldwin (1935-1937) -Conservative Party -During the reigns of King George V, Edward VIII, and George VI

 

Neville Chamberlain (1937-1940) -Conservative Party -During the reign King George VI **Prime Minister during first part of World War Two, and was the Prime Minister to sign the Munich Agreement

 

Winston Churchill (1940-1945) -Conservative Party -During the reign King George VI **Prime Minister during most of World War Two

 

Clement Attlee (1945-1951) -Labour Party -During the reign King George VI **Prime Minister during last months of World War Two and the start of the Korean War. During Attlee's time in office, Britain granted independence to India, Pakistan, and other colonies.

 

Winston Churchill (1951-1955) -Conservative Party -During the reigns King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II

 

Sir Anthony Eden (1955-1957) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II **Prime Minister who led Britain into the disasterous Suez War

 

Harold Macmillan (1957-1963) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II

 

Sir Alec Douglas-Home (1963-1964) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II

 

Harold Wilson (1964-1970) -Labour Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II

 

Edward Heath (1970-1974) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II

 

Harold Wilson (1974-1976) -Labour Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II

 

James Callaghan (1976-1979) -Labour Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II

 

Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II **Prime Minister who led Britain in the Falklands War and the first part of the Gulf War

 

John Major (1990-1997) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II

 

Tony Blair (1997-2007) -Labour Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II **Prime Minister during the start U.S.-led War on Terror, including partipating in the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

 

Gordon Brown (2007-2010) -Labour Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II

 

David Cameron (2010-2016) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II

 

Teresa May (2016-2019) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II **Prime Minister during the lead up to Brexit

 

Boris Johnson (2019-Present) -Conservative Party -During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II **Prime Minister who led Britain in Brexit (leaving the European Union). Also the Prime Minister during the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. Boris Johnson contracted the Covid virus and was hospitalized in April, 2020

 


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