1. Resignation peerages

Not all prime ministers have chosen to request that honours be conferred to mark their departure from office, although a majority have done so since the first resignation honours list was gazetted in 1895. The following table lists those prime ministers who requested that peerages be conferred after their departure from office.

Table 1: Prime ministers issuing resignation honours/peerage lists

Year Prime minister leaving office Number of new peerages Of which for men Of which for women Date announced
1895 Lord Rosebery 6 6 1 July 1895
1905 Arthur Balfour 9 9 9 December 1905
1916 Herbert Henry Asquith 7 7 22 December 1916
1924 Stanley Baldwin 1 1 8 February 1924
1945 Winston Churchill 9 9 14 August 1945
1951 Clement Attlee 5 5 30 November 1951
1963 Harold Macmillan 1 1 0 22 October 1963
1964 Alec Douglas-Home 9 7 2 1 December 1964
1970 Harold Wilson 8 5 3 7 August 1970
1976 Harold Wilson 9 9 0 27 May 1976
1990 Margaret Thatcher 7 6 1 21 December 1990
1997 John Major 10 8 2 2 August 1997
2016 David Cameron 16 8 8 4 August 2016
2019 Theresa May 19 11 8 10 September 2019

(London Gazette, ‘The history of prime ministers’ resignation honours’, 28 October 2019)

Notes:

  • While some lists included only nominees who would later be affiliated with the same political party as a former prime minister, others have been more mixed and have included individuals later affiliated with other political parties and/or the crossbenches.
  • The House of Lords was entirely male before the Life Peerages Act 1958 allowed women to become members.
  • Some earlier peerages were promotions for existing peers.
  • Date announced taken from either reports in the Times, notices in the London Gazette or government announcements, whichever came earlier.
  • The London Gazette lists Harold Wilson’s 1970 list as a resignation honours list, although the Times described it as a second dissolution list following a first list issued in June 1970.
  • Since 1997, a distinction appears to have been drawn between resignation peerages and other resignation honours.
  • Gordon Brown did not formally publish a resignation honours list, although a combined ‘working peers’ and dissolution list was issued on his advice. The working peers section of this list contained the names of 32 individuals, 16 of whom were to become new Labour peers.

Figure 1: Peerages conferred in resignation honours/peerage lists

Figure 1: Peerages conferred in resignation honours/peerage lists

Note:

  • The House of Lords was entirely male before the Life Peerages Act 1958 allowed women to become members.

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Cover image by Nick Kane on Unsplash.