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Whig Regarded as the first Prime Minister in the modern sense; the South Sea Company bubble; criticised for Great Britain's poor performance in the War of Jenkins' Ear. Sir Robert Walpole 11 February 1742 4 April 1721
Whig Increased tax on spirits; in poor health for much of his time as Prime Minister, the government was led de facto by John Carteret. †Died in office. Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington 2 July 1743 16 February 1742
Whig Reorganisation of the Royal Navy; 1745 Jacobite Rebellion; adoption of the Gregorian Calendar; Marriage Act 1753; helped end the War of the Austrian Succession. †Died in office. Henry Pelham 6 March 1754 27 August 1743
Whig Led Great Britain into the Seven Years' War with France in North America. Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle 16 November 1756 16 March 1754
Whig The government was largely run by William Pitt the Elder. William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire 25 June 1757 16 November 1756
Whig Great Britain gained more influence abroad in the Seven Years' War; the war was largely prosecuted by Pitt the Elder as Secretary of State. Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle 26 May 1762 2 July 1757
Tory First Scottish Prime Minister. Ended the dominance of the Whigs; Treaty of Paris (1763) ending the Seven Years' War; resigned after fierce criticism of Treaty of Paris concessions. John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute 8 April 1763 26 May 1762
Whig (Grenvillite) Briefly lowered domestic tax at the expense of the colonies, though this was rapidly repealed; introduced the unenforceable Stamp Act 1765 (which is popularly cited as one of the causes of the American Revolution). His repealing of the taxes he rolled out were for all except that on tea, which was used as a reason for the Boston Tea Party. George Grenville 13 July 1765 16 April 1763
Whig (Rockingham) Repealed the controversial Stamp Act 1765, inspired by protests from both American colonists and British manufacturers who were affected by it and its difficulty to enforce; introduced the Declaratory Act 1766. Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham 30 July 1766 13 July 1765
Whig (Chathamite) The first real Imperialist; credited with the birth of the British Empire; defeated France in Canada, thereby indirectly precipitating the French Revolution. William Pitt the Elder, 1st Earl of Chatham 14 October 1768 30 July 1766
Whig (Chathamite) Attempted to reconcile with the American colonies. Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton 28 January 1770 14 October 1768
Tory Led Great Britain into the American Revolution; the Gordon Riots; attempted reform in Ireland; resigned after a vote of no confidence against the will of the King. Frederick North, Lord North 22 March 1782 28 January 1770
Whig (Rockingham) Acknowledged the independence of the United States; began a process of economic reform. †Died in office. Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham 1 July 1782 27 March 1782
Whig (Chathamite) Planned political reform; secured peace with the United States, France and Spain. William Petty-FitzMaurice, 2nd Earl of Shelburne 2 April 1783 4 July 1782
Whig Titular head of the Fox–North Coalition. Attempted to reform the British East India Company, but was blocked by George III. William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 19 December 1783 2 April 1783
Tory (Pittite) Youngest Prime Minister. India Act 1784; attempted to remove rotten boroughs; personally opposed to the slave trade; reduced the national debt due to the rebellion in the North American colonies; formed the Triple Alliance; Constitutional Act of 1791; the Macartney Embassy (1792–1794), first of its kind to China; war with France starting in 1793; Cape Colony (South Africa) taken 1795; introduced the first income tax; Act of Union 1800. William Pitt the Younger 14 March 1801 19 December 1783
Tory (Pittite) Negotiated the Treaty of Amiens with France in 1802. Henry Addington 10 May 1804 17 March 1801
Tory (Pittite) Alliance with Russia, Austria and Sweden against France (Third Coalition); Battle of Trafalgar; Battle of Ulm; Battle of Austerlitz. †Died in office. William Pitt the Younger 23 January 1806 10 May 1804
Whig Abolition of the slave trade. William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Lord Grenville 31 March 1807 11 February 1806
nominally Tory He headed a Tory government; was old and ill, leaving the Cabinet to their own devices (largely headed by Spencer Perceval). William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 4 October 1809 31 March 1807
Tory Descent of George III into madness and the outset of the Regency era; his administration was notable for the lack of senior statesmen (Perceval also served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer); Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. †The only Prime Minister to have been assassinated. Spencer Perceval 11 May 1812 4 October 1809
Tory Oversaw the United Kingdom's victory in the Napoleonic Wars; the Congress of Vienna; an economic recession in 1817; the Luddite movement; The War of 1812 (in Britain, the American War of 1812 to 1815); Peterloo Massacre in 1819; return to the gold standard in 1819; victory over the Marathas in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1819; the Cato Street Conspiracy to assassinate Liverpool in 1820. Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool 9 April 1827 8 June 1812
Tory (Canningite) †Died shortly after taking office. George Canning 8 August 1827 10 April 1827
Tory (Canningite) Lacked support amongst colleagues; resigned. Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich 21 January 1828 31 August 1827
Tory First Irish Prime Minister; Catholic Emancipation Bill (over which he fought a duel). Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington 16 November 1830 22 January 1828
Whig Reform Act 1832; quelled Swing Riots; restriction of employment of children; reform of the Poor Laws; abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire. Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey 9 July 1834 22 November 1830
Whig William IV's opposition forced him to resign. William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne 14 November 1834 16 July 1834
Tory Caretaker government while Sir Robert Peel was located and returned to London. Held many of the major posts himself. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington 10 December 1834 14 November 1834
Conservative §Minority government. Unable to form a majority in Parliament so resigned. Sir Robert Peel 8 April 1835 10 December 1834
Whig A father figure to Queen Victoria; Municipal Corporations Act 1835; Bedchamber Crisis; Treaty of Waitangi. William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne 30 August 1841 18 April 1835
Conservative Mines Act 1842; reintroduction of income tax; Factory Act 1844; Railway Regulation Act 1844; repeal of the Corn Laws (triggered by the Great Irish Potato Famine) and other tariffs; Maynooth Grant. Sir Robert Peel 29 June 1846 30 August 1841
Whig §Minority government, but with the Conservatives split between Protectionists and Peelites, the Whigs held power. Education Act 1847; Don Pacifico affair; Chartist demonstrations; Australian Colonies Government Act; The Great Exhibition; improved the Poor laws; the John Russell Ministry was ended by a vote of "no confidence" on a militia bill. Lord John Russell 21 February 1852 30 June 1846
Conservative Government collapsed when his Chancellor's Budget was defeated. Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby 17 December 1852 23 February 1852
Peelite Led the country into the Crimean War; resigned after defeat in the vote for an inquiry into the conduct of the war. George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen 30 January 1855 19 December 1852
Whig Responded to the Indian mutiny of 1857; introduced the India Bill. Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston 19 February 1858 6 February 1855
Conservative Government of India Act 1858, transferring ownership of the East India Company to the Crown; Jews Relief Act, allowing Jews to become MPs. Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby 11 June 1859 20 February 1858
Liberal Between periods in office he founded the Liberal Party; term dominated by policy concerning the American Civil War; attempts to alleviate suffering caused by the Lancashire Cotton Famine. †Died in office. Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston 18 October 1865 12 June 1859
Liberal Attempted to introduce a further Reform Bill, but was opposed by his Cabinet. John Russell, 1st Earl Russell 26 June 1866 29 October 1865
Conservative Reform Act 1867; considered by some to be the father of the modern Conservative Party. Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby 25 February 1868 28 June 1866
Conservative Only ethnically Jewish Prime Minister; dissolved Parliament as the Conservatives did not have a majority. Benjamin Disraeli 1 December 1868 27 February 1868
Liberal Introduced reforms to the British Army, Civil Service and local government; made peacetime flogging illegal; Irish Church Act 1869; Irish Land Act 1870; Education Act 1870; Trade Union Act 1871; Ballot Act 1872; Licensing Act 1872; failed to prevent the Franco-Prussian War. William Ewart Gladstone 17 February 1874 3 December 1868
Conservative Various social reforms including the Climbing Boys Act 1875, the Public Health Act 1875 and the Artisans' and Labourers' Dwellings Improvement Act 1875; purchase of shares in the Suez Canal Company; Congress of Berlin; reintroduction of Queen Victoria to public life, including bestowing the title Empress of India; Second Anglo-Afghan War; breaking up of the League of the Three Emperors; the Zulu War; start of Long Depression. Benjamin Disraeli 21 April 1880 20 February 1874
Liberal First Boer War; Irish Coercion Act; Kilmainham Treaty; Phoenix Park Murders; Married Women's Property Act 1882; Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act 1883; Reform Act 1884, Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 (sometimes known collectively as the Third Reform Act); failure to rescue General Gordon in Khartoum, Sudan. William Ewart Gladstone 9 June 1885 23 April 1880
Conservative §Minority government. Legislation providing for housing the working class. Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury 28 January 1886 23 June 1885
Liberal First introduction of the Home Rule Bill for Ireland, which split the Liberal Party, resulting in the end of Gladstone's government. William Ewart Gladstone 20 July 1886 1 February 1886
Conservative Opposed Irish home rule; repeal of final Contagious Diseases Act; Local Government Act 1888; Partition of Africa; Prevention of Cruelty to, and Protection of, Children Act 1889; Free Education Act 1891; creation of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe); New Unionism and London Dock Strike of 1889. Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury 11 August 1892 25 July 1886
Liberal §Minority government. Reintroduction of the Home Rule Bill, which was passed by the House of Commons but rejected by the House of Lords leading to his resignation. William Ewart Gladstone 2 March 1894 15 August 1892
Liberal Imperialist; plans for expanding the Royal Navy caused disagreement within the Liberal Party; resigned following a vote of censure over military supplies. Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery 22 June 1895 5 March 1894
Conservative Workmen's Compensation Act 1897; Anglo-Zanzibar War; Second Boer War and Khaki election; Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Last Prime Minister to serve entirely from the House of Lords Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury 11 July 1902 25 June 1895
Conservative Had poor relations with Edward VII; his cabinet was split over free trade; establishment of the Committee of Imperial Defence; Entente Cordiale; Education Act 1902; Taff Vale case. Arthur Balfour 5 December 1905 11 July 1902
Liberal Restored autonomy to Transvaal and the Orange Free State; Anglo-Russian Entente; first Prime Minister to be referred to as such in Parliamentary legislation. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman 7 April 1908 5 December 1905
Liberal §Hung Parliaments. Liberal Welfare Reforms; People's Budget; Old Age Pensions Act 1908 and National Insurance Act 1911; Parliament Act 1911; Suffragettes and the Cat and Mouse Act; Home Rule Act 1914; World War I; Easter Rising. Herbert Henry Asquith 7 December 1916 7 April 1908
Liberal Welsh-speaking: only Prime Minister whose mother tongue was not English. End of World War I; Paris Peace Conference; attempted to extend conscription to Ireland during the First World War; Chanak Crisis. David Lloyd George 19 October 1922 7 December 1916
Conservative Canadian-born: only Prime Minister born outside the British Isles. Became Prime Minister following Conservative backbenchers' decision at the Carlton Club meeting to withdraw from the Lloyd George Coalition. Resigned due to ill health; died six months after leaving office. Andrew Bonar Law 20 May 1923 23 October 1922
Conservative Called a general election to gain a mandate for protectionist tariffs but failed to gain a majority; resigned after losing a vote of confidence. Stanley Baldwin 16 January 1924 23 May 1923
Labour §Hung Parliament; minority government reliant on Liberal support. First Labour Prime Minister; did not have a majority so could not introduce radical legislation; settled reparations with Germany following World War I; Zinoviev letter. Ramsay MacDonald 4 November 1924 22 January 1924
Conservative Treaty of Locarno; signatory of the Kellogg-Briand Pact; Pensions Act; enfranchisement of women over 21; UK General Strike of 1926. Stanley Baldwin 5 June 1929 4 November 1924
Labour §Hung Parliament. Appointed the first female minister, Margaret Bondfield; economic crises following the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Ramsay MacDonald 24 August 1931 5 June 1929
National Labour The Labour Government split on measures to resolve a budget crisis; MacDonald resigned, but was reappointed at the head of a National Government with the support of the Conservative and Liberal parties. He was subsequently expelled from the Labour Party; the National Government fought and won the election on the basis of a 'Doctor's Mandate'. Ottawa Conference supports protectionism, after which the free trade Ministers (Liberal and Viscount Snowden) resign. Ramsay MacDonald 7 June 1935 24 August 1931
Conservative Edward VIII abdication crisis; started rearmament but later criticised for failing to rearm more when Adolf Hitler broke Germany's Treaty of Versailles obligations. Stanley Baldwin 28 May 1937 7 June 1935
Conservative Attempted to maintain "peace for our time" through appeasement of Germany, settling the Munich Agreement; widely criticised following the German Invasion of Poland and consequent outbreak of World War II; resigned after failing to form a Coalition Government. Neville Chamberlain 10 May 1940 28 May 1937
Conservative World War II; led a Coalition Government; foundation of the United Nations; proposed what would eventually lead to the European Union; Beveridge Report. Following the ending of his all-party coalition, Churchill formed a "caretaker" government out of Conservatives, Liberal Nationals and non-party figures. However after two months it was defeated in the 1945 general election. Winston Churchill 26 July 1945 10 May 1940
Labour Initiated the post-war consensus; introduced nationalisation of utilities; foundation of the National Health Service; extended national insurance scheme; Independence of India and the end of the British role in Palestine; foundation of NATO; beginning of the Cold War; the Berlin Blockade and the resulting Berlin Airlift; the start of British involvement in the Korean War. Clement Attlee 26 October 1951 26 July 1945
Conservative Domestic policy interrupted by foreign disputes (Korean War, Operation Ajax, Mau Mau Uprising, Malayan Emergency). Sir Winston Churchill 7 April 1955 26 October 1951
Conservative Egyptian nationalisation of the Suez Canal; which sparked the Suez Crisis. Resigned due to ill health. Sir Anthony Eden 10 January 1957 7 April 1955
Conservative The UK applied to join the European Economic Community for the first time, the application split the Conservatives and was vetoed by Charles de Gaulle; acceptance of Keynesianism; Rent Act 1957; Wind of Change speech; Notting Hill race riots and New Commonwealth immigration; beginning of Beeching Axe; Night of the Long Knives; Cuban missile crisis; Profumo Affair. Harold Macmillan 19 October 1963 10 January 1957
Conservative Was the Earl of Home when he became Prime Minister, and renounced his peerage on 23 October 1963 in order to stand for the House of Commons. Sir Alec Douglas-Home 16 October 1964 19 October 1963
Labour Social reforms, including legalisation of abortion, abolition of capital punishment and decriminalisation of homosexuality; Rhodesian U.D.I.; adopted, then abandoned, the National Plan for the economy; Devaluation of the pound; foundation of the Open University; disputes with trade unions over In Place of Strife and prices and incomes policy. Harold Wilson 19 June 1970 16 October 1964
Conservative U-turned over intervention in industry; negotiated Britain's entry to the European Community; Violence due to Northern Ireland's "Troubles" peaked; the Sunningdale Agreement agreed; Three-Day Week; called early election in backfiring attempt to confront striking miners. Edward Heath 4 March 1974 19 June 1970
Labour §Hung parliament. Ended dispute with miners; Social Contract with trade unions over the economy; Health and Safety at Work Act; Renegotiated terms for EC membership, then 1975 referendum validated entry; North Sea oil; Cod War. Harold Wilson 5 April 1976 4 March 1974
Labour International Monetary Fund loan to support the pound; the Lib-Lab pact; enacted devolution to Scotland and Wales but referendums stopped them; breakdown of relations with trade unions and Winter of Discontent. James Callaghan 4 May 1979 5 April 1976
Conservative First female Prime Minister of the UK. Falklands War; sold council housing to tenants (right to buy); miners' strike 1984–85; privatisation of many previously government-owned industries; decreased the power of trade unions; negotiation of the UK rebate towards the European Community budget; Brighton hotel bombing; Sino-British Joint Declaration; Anglo-Irish Agreement; Westland Affair; abolition of GLC; Section 28; the "Poll tax" and Poll Tax Riots; Lockerbie bombing; the end of the Cold War. Margaret Thatcher 28 November 1990 4 May 1979
Conservative Early 1990s recession; Gulf War; ratification of the Maastricht Treaty and the Maastricht Rebels; forced exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism ("Black Wednesday"); the Downing Street Declaration (initiating the Northern Ireland peace process); Privatisation of British Rail; The National Lottery; Citizen's Charter; Sunday Shopping; "Back to Basics" campaign; Cones Hotline; Dangerous Dogs Act. John Major 2 May 1997 28 November 1990
Labour Hong Kong handover; Death of Diana, Princess of Wales; Independence for the Bank of England; Ecclestone tobacco controversy; Belfast Agreement; Human Rights Act; devolution to Scotland and Wales; House of Lords Reform; Minimum wage introduced; 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia; Fuel protests; creation of Greater London Authority and Mayoralty of London; 2001 foot and mouth crisis; War in Afghanistan; Iraq War; top-up fees introduced for university tuition; Civil Partnership Act; Constitutional Reform Act; 2005 London bombings; Cash for Honours scandal; Identity Cards Act. Tony Blair 27 June 2007 2 May 1997
Labour London car bombs prevented from detonating; Glasgow Airport attack; child benefit data misplaced; Donorgate; Northern Rock and other banks nationalised; Treaty of Lisbon ratified; 10p Tax rate abolished; Financial crisis of 2007–2010; Parliamentary expenses scandal; Release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi; arrest of Damian Green; Chilcot Inquiry established. Gordon Brown 11 May 2010 27 June 2007
Conservative §Hung parliament; leading a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. Bloody Sunday apology; Spending and Strategic Defence reviews (budget cuts to public services with ensuing anti-austerity protests and strikes); 2010 student protests; Arab Spring; Military intervention in Libya (Operation Ellamy); Alternative Vote (AV) referendum; News International phone hacking scandal; Welfare Reform Act, Health and Social Care Act; 2011 riots; European Fiscal Union veto; Cash for access scandal. David Cameron Incumbent 11 May 2010
August 2012
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