The Role of the Prime Minister
The Prime Minister is head of the UK Government and is ultimately responsible for the policy and decisions of the government.
As head of the UK government the Prime Minister also:
- oversees the Civil Service operation and government agencies
- appoints members of the government
- is the principal government figure in the House of Commons
Minister for the Civil Service
The Minister for the Civil Service is responsible for regulating the Civil Service. The Civil Service (Management Functions) Act of 1992 allows the Minister for the Civil Service to delegate power to other ministers and devolved administrations.
This role was created in 1968 and is always held by the Prime Minister.
First Lord of the Treasury
The First Lord of the Treasury is one of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. This role is usually held by the Prime Minister.
Since the 17th century, the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury have collectively carried out duties that were previously held by the Lord High Treasurer (head of Her Majesty’s Treasury).
The Lords Commissioners of the Treasury also include:
- The Second Lord of the Treasury – the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has most of the functional financial responsibilities
- Junior Lords Commissioners of the Treasury – other members of the government, usually government whips in the House of Commons
10 Downing Street is the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury, and not of the Prime Minister. Find out more about Number 10 Downing Street.
Queen Elizabeth II and her Prime Ministers
There have been fourteen British Prime Ministers during The Queen’s reign: They are:
1. Winston Churchill 1951-55 (rumoured to be the Queen’s favourite)
2. Sir Anthony Eden 1955-57
3. Harold Macmillan 1957-63
5. Harold Wilson 1964-70 and 1974-76
6. Edward Heath 1970-74
7. James Callaghan 1976-79
8. Margaret Thatcher 1979-90
9. John Major 1990-97
10. Tony Blair 1997-2007 (the film The Queen [DVD]  epitomises this superbly)
11. Gordon Brown 2007-2010
12. David Cameron 2010-2016
13. Theresa May 2016-2019
14. Boris Johnson from 2019
Discover even more…
Find out more about Elizabeth II in our Royal Family Section and about the relationship between the monarch and the Prime Minister.