Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Prime Minister of the
United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Government Coat of Arms
Her Majesty's Government Coat of Arms
Boris Johnson FCA.jpg
Acting Prime Minister
Boris Johnson
since July 24, 2019
Official seat 10 Downing Street , London
Term of office at Her
Majesty's discretion
Creation of office April 4, 1721
Last appointment July 24, 2019
Salutation The Right Honorable

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the senior minister in the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland . The full title is Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ( Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ).

The first incumbent was Robert Walpole (1721-1742), the current incumbent is Boris Johnson . There is no formal deputy, but several ministers have been appointed Deputy Prime Minister or First Secretary of State in the past . Foreign Minister Dominic Raab currently holds the latter title.


In Britain there is no written constitution that clearly defines the powers of the head of government.

The prime minister within the government the authority to issue guidelines , the members shall appoint his Cabinet , coordinates its work and that of their ministries, take part in ceremonial occasions, is the "face" of the government in the UK and beyond.

The legislature of the British House of Commons is divided into several phases of government. Traditionally, these take about a year. A new phase of government begins with the " Queen's Speech ", the reading of the government program by the Queen. Traditionally, parliament is given leave of absence before the speech. The prime minister has the right to determine the timing and to ask the monarch to temporarily close parliament. On September 24, 2019, the UK Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the suspension must be for objective reasons and not with the aim of obstructing the performance of Parliament's constitutional mandate.

Appointment and resignation

The Prime Minister is appointed by the monarch who, according to current agreement, selects the majority leader of the lower house. When neither party has a majority ( Hung parliament ) - a rare case in view of majority voting - the monarch appoints the leader of a coalition or one of the two party leaders.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, it has been expected by convention that a prime minister to be appointed, like the other members of the cabinet, has his own seat in the lower house. In contrast to other cabinet posts, some of which are also occupied by members of the House of Lords , all Prime Ministers since Arthur Balfour were members of the House of Commons during their tenure ; only Alec Douglas-Home was a member of the House of Lords when he took office in 1963 , but immediately renounced the title and secured a lower house seat in a by-election.

In theory, the prime minister (and the rest of the government) can be dismissed by the monarch at any time. In practice, this only happens if the office holder resigns; this can take place for personal reasons, because of an election defeat of his party or loss of support in the lower house or among a sufficient number of members of his group. Until 2011 , the Prime Minister also had the opportunity to propose to the monarch that parliament be dissolved and that new elections be held. As a rule, this suggestion was complied with. Since 2011 a 2/3 majority of MPs is required to dissolve parliament.

The leading politician of the main opposition party and direct opponent of the Prime Minister in debates is called Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition (" Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition "). He is considered a possible successor and therefore forms a shadow cabinet.

Origins of the office

The office of Prime Minister arises from the office of the First Lord of the Treasury , the First Lord of the Treasury . Since 1714, the office of the treasurer (Lord Treasurer), who was responsible for the administration of the royal treasure, was no longer given to an individual, but to a commission within which the First Lord was the chief responsible. Under Robert Walpole (1721–1742), the First Lord first gained a leading influence on government policy and thus laid the foundation for the office of Prime Minister.

The term Prime Minister came into use for the leading minister towards the end of the 18th century, but was initially only an unofficial term for the highest-ranking minister who officially held other offices, mostly (but not always) that of the First Lord of the Treasury . Since Arthur Balfour , Prime Minister 1902-1905 and First Lord 1895-1905, both offices have always been held by the same person.

The existence of a prime minister has long been denied and the term is often used as an insult to portray the minister as the monarch's "lap dog". Until Robert Peel's unsuccessful attempt to rule without a parliamentary majority, the monarch did not make known who he considered his prime minister. The office of Prime Minister first received  official recognition in 1905 - under Balfour's successor Henry Campbell-Bannerman - when it was given status immediately after the Archbishop of York in the order of precedence .

First among equals or “almost president”?

In theory, the UK Prime Minister is a primus inter pares , first among equals in the UK cabinet. When selecting ministers, the prime minister usually involves members of parliament who have their own political base, a household power, and who could potentially be dangerous to him. On the other hand, the Prime Minister has very few opportunities to influence the composition of the British civil administration, so that a tension between the elected politicians and the civil servants can be felt. Nevertheless, in practice a strong prime minister can dominate the government in such a way that he becomes a "near-president", that is, he performs a leadership role as in other countries, such as in the USA or France , the president , without bearing the burden of the ceremonial duties of a head of state. Examples of strong British Prime Ministers in this sense are William Ewart Gladstone , David Lloyd George , Winston Churchill , Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair .

10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street

The Prime Minister traditionally lives at 10 Downing Street in London, the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury. King George II gave this house to Sir Robert Walpole as a personal gift. Walpole did not accept the gift, but accepted the house in his capacity as First Lord of the Treasury and moved into residence in 1735. Most of the incumbents who followed him stayed here, although some 19th century Prime Ministers preferred to stay in their own homes Life. Some were not First Lord of the Treasury and therefore not allowed to live on Downing Street. Harold Macmillan , Harold Wilson and John Major lived intermittently in the Admiralty House . In 1958 Macmillan set up a commission to examine the dilapidated building and decide whether to renovate it. Demolition was considered, but since the building had achieved iconic status similar to that of Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace , an extensive renovation was decided. As far as possible, original parts were used again during the renovation. Where it seemed impossible to continue using the interior, the entire facility was photographed, measured and copied. However, since brown rot occurred again after the renovation work, the house was subjected to such a thorough renovation during Wilson's tenure (1964–1970 and 1974–1976) that it was tantamount to a completely new building. Major moved out of the building following an attack by the Provisional IRA as a result of necessary repairs . In 1997 the new Prime Minister Tony Blair chose 11 Downing Street as his residence and left No. 10 to his Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown , because 10 Downing Street would be too small for Blair's family. However, the two houses are connected to each other.


The annual salary of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown amounted to 150,000 British pounds . It was reduced to £ 142,500 as part of government austerity measures under David Cameron . However, this includes the remuneration as a member of the House of Commons . These were £ 65,737 for 2010/11.

See also

Web links

Commons : Prime Minister of the United Kingdom  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. mirror
  2. Südkurier
  4. time
  5. Tagesschau
  6. mirror
  7. South German
  8. world
  9. The resignation can follow a vote of no confidence or a lost important vote , but - if the result is foreseeable - it can also precede it. In recent times, internal party votes have also played a role. In fact, party discipline is strong enough to seldom hold this type of vote, so seldom that only three votes of no confidence have been successful since 1885. The Prime Minister must therefore retain the support of his group if he does not want  to be ousted from office when his popularity is dwindling , as happened with Arthur Neville Chamberlain and Margaret Thatcher .
  10. Only two Prime Ministers were not First Lord of the Treasury: William Pitt the Elder officiated as Lord Seal Keeper from 1766–1768 , Lord Salisbury served as Lord Seal Keeper and Foreign Minister from 1885–1886 and 1895–1903 .
  11. ^ A New Politics Cutting Ministerial Pay. Archived from the original on January 9, 2013 ; accessed on August 15, 2013 .