7 must-know facts about Britain’s prime ministers

Theresa May PM May's plan to rip up human rights law

Parliament returns next week, so here's a list of seven interesting facts about the country's PMs.

1. Longest-serving PM

The longest-serving UK prime minister of all time was Sir Robert Walpole, who served for over twenty years in the office in the 18th century. The longest-serving prime minister since 1945 was Margaret Thatcher who served between 1979 and 1990. Thatcher is followed by Tony Blair who led the country for just over one decade – half of the time Walpole was in power.

SEE ALSO: 7 shortest-serving UK prime ministers since 1945

Maggie In Hard Hat

2. Shortest-serving PM

The shortest-serving modern prime minister was Alec Douglas-Home, who took over from Harold MacMillan before losing the 1964 election to Harold Wilson’s Labour. Douglas-Home lasted less than a year in office.

The shortest-serving prime minister of all time is George Canning, who lasted just 119 days in office

3. Oldest PM

Four-time Liberal prime minister William Gladstone was the oldest PM to serve in the office. He finished his final term in power in 1894 aged 84.

4. There have been six Labour prime ministers

Labour became a real political force in the 1920s when Ramsay MacDonald formed a brief Labour minority administration in 1924. Ramsay later became prime minister for a second spell and soon became leader of a National Government. His time in power was followed by Conservative rule until Clement Attlee came to power in 1945. His administration transformed the country following the Second World War.

Attlee’s leadership was then followed by more Conservative rule until Harold Wilson’s non-consecutive victories in the 1960s and 70s. Then in 1976, Wilson stepped down and Jim Callaghan won the Labour leadership contest and subsequently became Labour’s fourth prime minister.

Tony Blair EU

The 1979 election then ushered in eighteen long years of Conservative-rule, which was ended by Blair’s 1997 victory and the coronation of Gordon Brown in 2007.

Brown is currently the last Labour prime minister. Will Jeremy Corbyn become the party’s seventh?

SEE ALSO: The 13 Labour leaders who never became prime minister

5. Worst British prime ministers

The worst modern prime minister is undoubtedly Anthony Eden, who served as Churchill’s deputy before taking over from the Conservative giant in 1955, winning a large majority in an election, and then resigning over his thwarted mission in Suez.

A University of Leeds survey, in which experts ranked prime ministers since 1945 on various performance indicators, found Eden to be the country’s worst modern prime minister. He received a score of just 2.4 whereas top-ranked Clement Attlee was given a score of 8.5.

Sir Anthony Eden6. The last non-Conservative and non-Labour prime minister

With the exception of Ramsay MacDonald, who served as Labour prime minister before heading a National Government, the last non-Labour and non-Conservative prime minister was Liberal David Lloyd George, who served between 1916 and 1922. His time in office covered the tail-end of World War One, and was preceded by two other Liberal prime ministers, Henry Campbell-Bannerman and Herbert Henry Asquith.

The end of his leadership in 1922 means that for almost one century, the country has been led by a back-and-forth of Labour and Conservative prime ministers.

House of Commons Chamber: Speaker's table

7. The richest prime minister

According to Guinness World Records, the richest UK prime minister was Edward Stanley, who served as PM on three non-consecutive occasions in the 19th century. He was the 14th Earl of Derby and had £7m back then – the equivalent of almost £0.5bn in modern terms.