Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party (UK)

The Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party is sometimes an official title of a senior Conservative politician of the United Kingdom.

Some are given this title officially by the party, such as Peter Lilley,[1] while others are given the title as an unofficial description by the media, such as William Hague.[2] Distinct from being "second-in-command", there is formally no current position of deputy party leader in the party's hierarchy.[3]

The term has sometimes been mistakenly used to refer to the party's deputy chair.[4]

List of deputy leadersEdit

Name Term began Term ended Concurrent office(s) Leader
Reginald Maudling 1965[5] 18 July 1972[6] Deputy Leader of the Opposition (1965–1970)[7]
Shadow Foreign Secretary (1965)
Shadow Defence Secretary (1968–1969)
Home Secretary (1970–1972)
Edward Heath
The Viscount Whitelaw 11 February 1975[8][better source needed] 7 August 1991[8] Deputy Leader of the Opposition (1975–1979)[9]
Shadow Home Secretary (1976–1979)
Home Secretary (1979–1983)
Leader of the House of Lords (1983–1988)[10]
Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Peter Lilley 1 June 1998[11] 15 June 1999[12] Deputy Leader of the Opposition (1998–1999)[13] William Hague
Michael Ancram 14 September 2001[14] 2005[15] Deputy Leader of the Opposition (2001–2005)[16]
Shadow Foreign Secretary (2001–2005)
Shadow Defence Secretary (2005)
Iain Duncan Smith
Michael Howard

Living former deputy leadersEdit

There are currently two living former deputy leaders:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Peter Lilley, Member of Parliament for Hitchin and Harpenden". The Conservative Party. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016. He stood for the Conservative Leadership in 1997; becoming Shadow Chancellor then Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party Responsible for Policy Renewal until 2000.
  2. ^ Andrew Porter, Political Editor (14 January 2009). "David Cameron anoints William Hague as his deputy". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 July 2016. David Cameron is to give William Hague a wider-ranging role – effectively making him the deputy leader of the Conservative Party.
    The Tory leader's decision to bring Mr Hague closer to him will be seen as a rebuff for George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, who had performed the "deputy" role since Mr Cameron became leader.
    But Mr Osborne's stock has fallen since the Yachtgate saga in which he admitted being offered a loan from a Russian oligarch.
    Mr Cameron said: "William is effectively my deputy in all but name and people need to know that. I have been in this job for three years. William did it for four."
    The Tory leader told The Sun: "There's a real opportunity as we go into an election year of William as well as doing the foreign affairs stuff of actually carrying a lot of the message to the country."
    "I want people to see the role he has already which is effectively deputy in all but name. But you are going to see him in the frontline on national issues.
  3. ^ Guardian editorial (17 June 2015). "The Guardian view on party deputy leaders: a job about nothing". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2016. David Cameron's choice of George Osborne shows that party leaders need a reliable second-in-command. A deputy isn't the same thing.
    Political parties require leaders but they have very little call for deputy leaders. They do, on the other hand, require a second-in-command. The distinction between the two is important. The Conservatives understand it. Labour and some smaller parties do not.
    The difference was well illustrated in the Commons today by George Osborne's debut at prime minister's questions in the absence of David Cameron. Mr Osborne is not the Tory deputy leader. No such post exists. Yet the party has got on pretty well over the years without one. On the other hand, Mr Osborne is very much Mr Cameron's second-in-command, not as of right or of rank, but chosen because of ability and trust. He is the man to whom Mr Cameron most confidently turns to act as his senior lieutenant. The chancellor now carries the title of first secretary of state as an acknowledgment of that reality. Mr Osborne's confident performance today showed why this is.
  4. ^ Ann Gripper (11 May 2015). "David Cameron's 2015 cabinet: Meet the ministers appointed in all Conservative post-election reshuffle". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 17 July 2016. Robert Halfon will become deputy leader of the Conservative Party.
  5. ^ "Reginald Maudling Is Dead at 61." The New York Times, 15 February 1979.
  6. ^ "Heath Faces Cabinet Reshuffle". 1972-07-24. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  7. ^ Wood, J. R. T. (1966-12-24). A Matter of Weeks Rather Than Months: The Impasse between Harold Wilson and Ian Smith. ISBN 9781466934092. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  8. ^ a b "Willie Whitelaw dies aged 81". The Guardian. Press Association. 1 July 1991. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  9. ^ Young, Hugo (2008-11-18). The Hugo Young Papers: Thirty Years of British Politics – Off the Record. ISBN 9780141903606. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  10. ^ "Thatcher's No. 2 Cabinet minister resigns". 1988-01-10. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  11. ^ "Hague reshuffles shadow cabinet." BBC News, 1 June 1998.
  12. ^ "Hague looks to fresh faces." BBC News, 15 June 1999.
  13. ^ Mark D'Arcy. "Democracy Live – Peter Lilley MP". BBC News. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  14. ^ "Eurosceptics prosper under Duncan Smith." BBC News, 14 September 2001.
  15. ^ Sparrow, Andrew. "Michael Ancram to stand down at election." The Guardian, 11 August 2009.
  16. ^ "Peerage for the Rt Hon Michael Ancram". 2010-10-21. Retrieved 2019-07-03.