Leader of the House of Commons

The Leader of the House of Commons is a government minister whose main role is organising government business in the Commons. The Leader of the House does this by working closely with the government's Chief Whip.

Scheduling business

Every sitting Thursday, the Leader of the House tells the Commons about the business scheduled for the following week and usually provisional business for the week after.

Committee membership

The Leader chairs one Cabinet Committee, the Parliamentary Business and Legislation Committee. 

Deputising for the Prime Minister

The Leader can deputise for the Prime Minister, either at Prime Minister's Questions or for formal duties. Ordinarily the Deputy Prime Minister or First Secretary of State can fulfil this function.

History of the role

The title does not appear to have become established until about the middle of the nineteenth-century although the institution is much older. The leadership of the House is not a statutory office nor is the Leader formally appointed by the Crown; for these reasons the post has usually been held together with another office; recently this has usually been that of Lord President of the Council.

Until 1942 the Prime Minister, if a Minister of the House of Commons, generally also acted as Leader of the House, although day-to-day duties were frequently carried out after 1922 by an appointed deputy Leader. Since 1942 it has been the regular practice to have a separate Leader of the House, and there have also been instances of the appointment of a deputy Leader of the House.

Further information

Find out more about the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons and current post holders.

Contact the House of Commons Enquiry Service

The House of Commons Enquiry Service provides information on the work, history and membership of the House of Commons.

  • Telephone: 0800 112 4272 (Freephone) or 020 7219 4272
  • Email: hcenquiries@parliament.uk
  • Text relay:  Dial 18001 followed by our full number

Our telephone enquiry service is open between 10am-12 midday and 2pm-4pm (Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).


The House of Commons Enquiry Service produces a series of free publications which you can read online, or contact us to request copies.

House of Commons on Twitter

Follow @HouseofCommons for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.

Related information

Related internet links

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What's a Whip?

Whips are MPs or Lords appointed by each party to help organise their party's contribution to parliamentary business.