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Reference list

Prime ministers of the United Kingdom (1730–2010)

The title of prime minister has been applied to the highest position in British politics since the first half of the eighteenth century. Sir Robert Walpole is regarded as the first prime minister, by virtue of his standing as the acknowledged leader of the cabinet of king's ministers. This designation was, however, informal. As a result, the start of Walpole's premiership is open to interpretation and is here dated from the resignation of his colleague Charles Townshend, second Viscount Townshend, only after which Walpole gained an unrivalled control of the administration and its policies.

Though a fixture in British government from Walpole, the office of prime minister was not recognized in law until the first decade of the twentieth century, and carried no salary. Most prime ministers actually held the formal office, salary, and London residence (10 Downing Street) of first lord of the treasury; this became the invariable practice in the twentieth century. Since the office of prime minister was, until the twentieth century, informal and unpaid, the exact dates of assuming office (generally taken to be the point at which the minister kissed the sovereign's hands) are not always certain before the second half of the nineteenth century. There also remain differences of interpretation about the precise holders of the position in the eighteenth century: two politicians, William Pulteney, earl of Bath (1684–1764), and James Waldegrave, second Earl Waldegrave (1715–1763), accepted office as first lords of the treasury. Pulteney actually kissed hands (in February 1746) but was unable to form a ministry capable of commanding majorities in the House of Commons and House of Lords, and resigned within days of his appointment. Waldegrave accepted office in July 1757, but did not kiss hands and instead helped form the coalition that returned the duke of Newcastle to office.

No party designations are given for prime ministers before Lord Liverpool. Before this period all prime ministers came from political groupings that either rejected labels or would have described themselves as whig. In the early nineteenth century the political successors of William Pitt the younger came to accept the label ‘tory’, leaving ‘whig’ to their opponents.
1730–1742Sir Robert Walpole (1676–1745)
1742–1743Spencer Compton, earl of Wilmington (c.1674–1743)
1743–1754Henry Pelham (1694–1754)
1754–1756Thomas Pelham-Holles, duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (1693–1768)
1756–1757William Cavendish, fourth duke of Devonshire (bap. 1720, d. 1764)
1757–1762Thomas Pelham-Holles, duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (1693–1768)
1762–1763John Stuart, third earl of Bute (1713–1792)
1763–1765George Grenville (1712–1770)
1765–1766Charles Watson-Wentworth, second marquess of Rockingham (1730–1782)
1766–1768William Pitt, first earl of Chatham [known as Pitt the elder] (1708–1778)
1768–1770Augustus Henry FitzRoy, third duke of Grafton (1735–1811)
1770–1782Frederick North, Lord North [see North, Frederick, second earl of Guilford (1732–1792)]
1782 (March–July)Charles Watson-Wentworth, second marquess of Rockingham (1730–1782)
1782–1783William Petty [formerly Fitzmaurice], second earl of Shelburne (1737–1805)
1783 (April–Dec)William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck, third duke of Portland (1738–1809)
1783–1801William Pitt [known as Pitt the younger] (1759–1806)
1801–1804Henry Addington (1757–1844)
1804–1806William Pitt [known as Pitt the younger] (1759–1806)
1806–1807William Wyndham Grenville, Baron Grenville (1759–1834)
1807–1809William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck, third duke of Portland (1738–1809)
1809–1812Spencer Perceval (1762–1812)
1812–1827Robert Banks Jenkinson, second earl of Liverpool (1770–1828); tory
1827 (April–Aug)George Canning (1770–1827); tory
1827–1828Frederick John Robinson, first Viscount Goderich (1782–1859); tory
1828–1830Arthur Wellesley, first duke of Wellington (1769–1852); tory
1830–1834Charles Grey, second Earl Grey (1764–1845); whig
1834 (July–Nov)William Lamb, second Viscount Melbourne (1779–1848); whig
1834 (Nov–Dec)Arthur Wellesley, first duke of Wellington (1769–1852); tory
1834–1835Sir Robert Peel, second baronet (1788–1850); Conservative
1835–1841William Lamb, second Viscount Melbourne (1779–1848); whig
1841–1846Sir Robert Peel, second baronet (1788–1850); Conservative
1846–1852Lord John Russell (1792–1878); whig
1852 (Feb–Dec)Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley, fourteenth earl of Derby (1799–1869); Conservative
1852–1855George Hamilton-Gordon, fourth earl of Aberdeen (1784–1860); Peelite
1855–1858Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston (1784–1865); Liberal
1858–1859Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley, fourteenth earl of Derby (1799–1869); Conservative
1859–1865Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston (1784–1865); Liberal
1865–1866John Russell, first Earl Russell (1792–1878); Liberal
1866–1868Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley, fourteenth earl of Derby (1799–1869); Conservative
1868 (Feb–Dec)Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881); Conservative
1868–1874William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898); Liberal
1874–1880Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881); Conservative
1880–1885William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898); Liberal
1885–1886Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, third marquess of Salisbury (1830–1903); Conservative
1886 (Feb–July)William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898); Liberal
1886–1892Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, third marquess of Salisbury (1830–1903); Conservative
1892–1894William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898); Liberal
1894–1895Archibald Philip Primrose, fifth earl of Rosebery (1847–1929); Liberal
1895–1902Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, third marquess of Salisbury (1830–1903); Conservative
1902–1905Arthur James Balfour (1848–1930); Conservative
1905–1908Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836–1908); Liberal
1908–1916Herbert Henry Asquith (1852–1928); Liberal
1916–1922David Lloyd George (1863–1945); Liberal
1922–1923Andrew Bonar Law (1858–1923); Conservative
1923–1924Stanley Baldwin (1867–1947); Conservative
1924 (Jan–Nov)(James) Ramsay MacDonald (1866–1937); Labour
1924–1929Stanley Baldwin (1867–1947); Conservative
1929–1935(James) Ramsay MacDonald (1866–1937); Labour (from 1931 National Labour)
1935–1937Stanley Baldwin (1867–1947); Conservative
1937–1940(Arthur) Neville Chamberlain (1869–1940); Conservative
1940–1945Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874–1965); Conservative
1945–1951Clement Richard Attlee (1883–1967); Labour
1951–1955Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874–1965); Conservative
1955–1957Sir (Robert) Anthony Eden (1897–1977); Conservative
1957–1963(Maurice) Harold Macmillan (1894–1986); Conservative
1963–1964Sir Alexander Frederick [Alec] Douglas-Home (1903–1995); Conservative
1964–1970(James) Harold Wilson (1916–1995); Labour
1970–1974Edward Richard George Heath (1916–2005); Conservative
1974–1976(James) Harold Wilson (1916–1995); Labour
1976–1979(Leonard) James Callaghan (1912–2005); Labour
1979–1990Margaret Hilda Thatcher (1925–2013); Conservative
1990–1997John Major (b. 1943); Conservative
1997–2007Anthony Charles Lynton (Tony) Blair (b. 1953); Labour
2007–2010(James) Gordon Brown (b. 1951); Labour
2010–David William Donald Cameron (b. 1966); Conservative