Iain Dale special: 300 years of the British Prime Minister

2 April 2021, 13:22

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

With Saturday marking 300 years since Sir Robert Walpole took the office that is now known as the Prime Minister, Iain Dale examined the role.

The office of Prime Minister is not established by any statute or constitutional document but exists only by long-established convention, whereby the reigning monarch appoints as Prime Minister the person most likely to command the confidence of the House of Commons

From Walpole to Johnson, via Disraeli, Gladstone, Churchill, Thatcher and more Iain looked at what made a good, a great or a bad Prime Minister.

When Sir Robert took office, he did not become the Prime Minister as we know it today but was instead made the First Lord of the Treasury of Great Britain in 1721.

With changes over the last 300 years to the role and responsibilities Iain and his guests discussed the evolution to the modern British Prime Minister.

Joining Iain's expert panel were:

  • Sir Anthony Seldon, political commentator & contemporary historian and Author of new book 'The Impossible Office? The History of the British Prime Minister'
  • Sue Cameron, journalist & Commentator
  • Steve Richards, writer and broadcaster and author of 'The Prime Ministers: Reflections on Leadership from Wilson to May'

You can watch the whole fascinating special show in the video at the top of the page.