• Of the 24 former prime ministers who have served since 1902, half (12) received a peerage entitling membership of the House of Lords after departing the House of Commons.
  • Of the 12 former prime ministers to have received a peerage, seven received a hereditary earldom. Harold Macmillan, who served as prime minister between 1957 and 1963, was the last former prime minister to receive an earldom. He became the Earl of Stockton in 1984. Since 1999, a hereditary earldom has not automatically entitled the bearer to a seat in the House of Lords.
  • The remaining five received life peerages under the Life Peerages Act 1958. Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who served as prime minister between 1963 and 1964, was the first former prime minister to receive a life peerage. He was created Lord Home of the Hirsel in 1974, having disclaimed a hereditary earldom previously.
  • The most recent former prime minister to receive a peerage is David Cameron. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appointed Mr Cameron foreign secretary in 2023. His peerage title is Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton. Lord Cameron left the House of Commons in 2016.
  • The second most recent former prime minister to receive a peerage was Margaret Thatcher. Her life peerage was conferred in 1992, after which she was known as Baroness Thatcher.
  • Two former prime ministers, Theresa May and Elizabeth Truss, remain MPs.

Table 1. Peerages awarded to former UK prime ministers: 1902–2023

Prime minister Period in office Year ceased to be an MP Year peerage created Title (if applicable)
Elizabeth Truss 2022
Boris Johnson 2019–22 2023
Theresa May 2016–19
David Cameron 2010–16 2016 2023 Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton (L)
Gordon Brown 2007–10 2015
Tony Blair 1997–2007 2007
John Major 1990–97 2001
Margaret Thatcher 1979–90 1992 1992 Baroness Thatcher (L)
James Callaghan 1976–79 1987 1987 Lord Callaghan of Cardiff (L)
Harold Wilson 1974–76 1983 1983 Lord Wilson of Rievaulx (L)
Edward Heath 1970–74 2001
Sir Alec Douglas-Home 1963–64 1974 1974 Lord Home of the Hirsel (L)
Harold Macmillan 1957–63 1964 1984 Earl of Stockton (H)
Sir Anthony Eden 1955–57 1957 1961 Earl of Avon (H)
Sir Winston Churchill 1951–55 1964
Clement Attlee 1945–51 1955 1955 Earl Attlee (H)
Neville Chamberlain 1937–40 1940 (died)
Stanley Baldwin 1935–37 1937 1937 Earl Baldwin of Bewdley (H)
Ramsay MacDonald 1929–35 1937
Andrew Bonar Law 1922–23 1923 (died)
David Lloyd George 1916–22 1945 1945 Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor (H)
Herbert Asquith 1908–16 1924 1925 Earl of Oxford and Asquith (H)
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman 1905–08 1908 (died)
Arthur Balfour 1902–05 1922 1922 Earl of Balfour (H)

Key: L = Life peerage; H = Hereditary peerage.

(Sources: David Butler and Gareth Butler, ‘British Political Facts’, 2011, p 61; and David Beamish, ‘United Kingdom peerage creations 1801–2023’, accessed 13 November 2023)

Cover image: © House of Lords 2023 / photography by Roger Harris.

This briefing was updated on 21 November 2023 following Lord Cameron’s introduction in the House of Lords on 20 November 2023.