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british prime ministers

INTRODUCTION

The following charts show the region of birth of British Prime Ministers. Different regions produce Prime Ministers at a different rate and this depends on time and party. It shows where power is concentrated, the political culture of different regions. The table below shows information about about 20th and 21st century Prime Ministers including their degree, pre-political occupation and place of birth. 

Charts

1. Mori / University of Leeds Academic Rating of British Prime Ministers 1895-2004

2. Region of Birth of British Prime Ministers

3. Number of Prime Ministers by Party and Region

4. Number of Prime Ministers by Region and Period

5. List of Living Former Prime Ministers by Popularity

Data Table

6. 20th/21st Century British Prime Ministers by Party, Region of Birth, Degree and Other Occupation(s)

London, which has been the centre of political power in the UK for centuries, is by far the leading region of birth of UK Prime Ministers with 31% of all Prime Ministers born in London. This is well ahead of it's share of the UK population over the period. This was particularly true before the 20th century when it was the region of birth of 41% of Prime Ministers. Pre-20th century Britain was even more centred around London than today. As ease of travel has increased in the 20th century, more Prime Ministers have been born outside of London. Only 1 of the last 9 Prime Ministers, David cameron, was born in London.

There were 20 British Prime Ministers in the 19th century. 10 were born in London. In the first half of the 19th century, the Tory and Whig party were dominant. In the 2nd half, the Conservative (now often called Tories) and Liberal Party became dominant. 

 

In the 20th century, Scotland and the Southeast have overtaken London as the region of birth of most Prime Ministers. Both of the last 2 Labour Prime Ministers, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, were born in Scotland although Tony Blair was primarily raised in England. The majority of 20th/21st century Scottish born Prime Ministers are from the Labour Party. Quite remarkably, there has yet to be a British Prime Minister born in Wales. David Lloyd George is generally regarded as a Welshman though. Although he was born in Manchester, his parents were Welsh and spoke Welsh as a first language. There has also yet to be a Prime Minister born in Northern Ireland. However, 2 Prime Ministers were born in Ireland during the 19th century when the whole of Ireland was part of the UK. They were William Petty and Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. 

 

The wealthy Southeast region has been by far the most common region of birth of Prime Ministers after the second world war. 5 out of 13 postwar Prime Ministers were born in the Southeast. This reflects the often mentioned complaint that there is too much power in the Southeast of England. 4 of the Prime Ministers born in the Southeast were from the Conservative party which reflects their strength in the region. Britain's most famous Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was born in the Southeast at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

 

Notable is the lack of Prime Ministers born in the north of England. A significantly larger percentage of Prime Ministers were born in the Northwest before the turn of the 20th century compared to after, including William Gladstone. 2 Prime Ministers have been born outside the UK, both in North America. The current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was born in New York City, USA. The other was Bonar Law, a Tory Prime Minister between 1922 and 1923, who was born in Canada. Both moved to the UK as children. 

Note: Although Robert Gascoyne-Cecil completed the last of his 3 terms in 1902, he is counted as a pre-20th century Prime Minister since he served the vast majority of his nearly 14 years as PM in the 19th century.

Clement Attlee was Labour Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951. He was born in Putney, Surrey. Presiding over the creation of the modern welfare state including the NHS, he is considered to be one of Britain's greatest Prime Ministers. 

Tony Blair was Labour Prime Minister from from 1997 to 2007. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland although he grew up in England. He is considered to be one of the most influential Prime Ministers of all time. 

6. 20th/21st Century British Prime Ministers by Party, Region of Birth, Degree and Other Occupation(s)
Prime Minister
Years in office
Party while Prime Minister
UK Region of birth
Degree
Pre-political Occupation
Arthur Balfour
1902-1905
Conservative
Scotland
Moral Sciences
Author
Henry Campbell-Bannerman
1905-1908
Liberal
Scotland
Classical Tripos
Merchant
Herbert Henry Asquith
1908-1916
Liberal
Yorkshire and the Humber
Classics
Diplomat
David Lloyd George
1916-1922
Liberal
North West England
N/A
Solicitor
Bonar Law
1922-1923
Conservative
Non-UK (Canada)
N/A
Businessman
Stanley Baldwin
1923-1924,1924-1929,1935-1937
Conservative
West Midlands
History
Businessman
Ramsay MacDonald
1924,1929-1935
Labour, National Labour
Scotland
N/A
Journalist
Neville Chamberlain
1937-1940
Conservative
West Midlands
null
Businessman
Winston Churchill
1940-1945,1951-1955
Conservative
South East England
N/A
Journalist
Clement Atlee
1945-1951
Labour
London
Modern History
Lawyer
Anthony Eden
1955-1957
Conservative
North East England
Languages
Soldier
Harold Macmillan
1957-1963
Conservative
London
Classics
Publisher
Alec Douglas-Home
1963-1964
Conservative
London
Modern History
Diplomat
Harold Wilson
1964-1970,1974-1976
Labour
Yorkshire and the Humber
Modern History
Teacher
Edward Heath
1970-1974
Conservative
South East England
Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Journalist
James Callaghan
1976-1979
Labour
South East England
N/A
Soldier
Margaret Thatcher
1979-1990
Conservative
East Midlands
Chemistry
Barrister
John Major
1990-1997
Conservative
South East England
N/A
Banker
Tony Blair
1997-2007
Labour
Scotland
Law
Diplomat
Gordon Brown
2007-2010
Labour
Scotland
History
Teacher
David Cameron
2010-2016
Conservative
London
Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Spokesperson
Theresa May
2016-2019
Conservative
South East England
Geography
Financial Consultant
Boris Johnson
2019-Present
Conservative
Non-UK (New York City, USA)
Classics
Journalist
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