Prime Ministers

Today is publication day for my new book THE PRIME MINISTERS 1721-2020 - THREE HUNDRED YEARS OF POLITICAL LEADERSHIP. It was lovely to get an invite to mark the occasion to go on the TODAY PROGRAMME to talk about what makes a great Prime Minister. This isn't in the book, but I've tried to rank the 55 Prime Ministers, but it's almost impossible to compare an 18th PM with a 21st century Premier. But I've tried. I got the authors of the 55 essays to give marks to their own PM in sixty different categories. I then got together a group of five of the authors to try to make sense of it all, but in the end I'll take full responsibility for what appears below.

No one will ever agree on how to rank the PMs, and many of you will take issue with this list. Good. That's what debate is all about. I'm not going to write a long essay here justifying the list. All I hope is that it might provoke a little debate among potential readers of the book. 

And if you'd like to order a signed copy of the book you can do so HERE. The book is also available as an Audiobook and an eBook.


1 Winston Churchill
2 William Gladstone
3 William Pitt the Younger
4 Margaret Thatcher
5 Clement Attlee
6 David Lloyd George
7 H H Asquith
8 Benjamin Disraeli
9 Marquess of Salisbury
10 Sir Robert Walpole
11 Stanley Baldwin
12 Sir Robert Peel
13 Earl Grey
14 Tony Blair
15 Harold Wilson
16 Earl of Derby
17 Viscount Palmerston
18 Lord John Russell
19 Henry Pelham
20 Earl of Liverpool
21 Harold Macmillan
22 Duke of Newcastle
23 Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman
24 Viscount Melbourne
25 William Pitt the Elder
26 Henry Addington
27 Marquess of Rockingham
28 John Major
29 David Cameron
30 Ramsay MacDonald
31 Arthur Balfour
32 Gordon Brown
33 Duke of Wellington
34 James Callaghan
35 Edward Heath
36 George Grenville
37 Spencer Perceval
38 Duke of Grafton
39 Earl of Aberdeen
40 Lord North
41 Earl of Shelburne
42 Earl of Bute
43 Duke of Portland
44 Lord Grenville
45 Boris Johnson
46 Earl of Rosebery
47 Neville Chamberlain
48 Alec Douglas-Home
49 Andrew Bonar Law
50 Theresa May
51 Anthony Eden
52 Earl of Wilmington
53 Duke of Devonshire
54 George Canning
55 Viscount Goderich