19th December 1783. Chancellor.

The shortest term for a Chancellor of the Exchequer was that of Ian Macleod in 1970 who died in office after less than a month.

Robert Walpole unofficially regarded as Britain’s first Prime-Minister combined that office with that of Chancellor.

In 1783 the Whig politician, William Pitt the Younger, ceased to be Chancellor of the Exchequer having served for eight months.

By Today 19th December he was back as Chancellor, but this time also holding the office of Prime Minister.(1)

He was also to hold both posts from 10th May 1804 until his death on 23rd January two years later.

In medieval times the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer tended to alternate between law offices and were often held by senior clerics who were also lawyers such as Sir Hervey de Stainton or Stanton, Chancellor in June 1316.(2)

Chancellors have resided at number 11, Downing Street since 1828, with the longest serving, post 1832 Reform Act, continuous resident of 10 years held by Labour’s Gordon Brown, passing Lloyd-George’s record of 7 years and 43 days.(3)

In the 19thc Gladstone, four times Prime-Minister, spent 63 years in Parliament, was Chancellor, on four separate occasions 1852-1882, but never served a consecutive term of seven years.

When Gladstone succeeded Disraeli as Chancellor, convention demanded that Gladstone pay his predecessor for the cost of the furniture in No 11. When he refused, Disraeli disappeared with the Chancellor’s robe which had belonged to their shared hero William Pitt. No wonder Disraeli called the priggish Gladstone the ‘Greenwich Tartuffe’.

Gladstone’s innovation in 1853 was that of the Budget (he presented eleven), which was a clever move for bundling a ragbag of measures together under a financial wrapping, useful for dragooning ministers into compliance and getting a whipped vote.

Chancellors are the only people in the Commons allowed to refresh themselves, in their Budget presentation. This ranged from Disraeli’s brandy and water, to Gladstone’s sherry and beaten egg, which sustained him through his marathon four-hour speech in 1853.

Hugh Dalton, Labour Chancellor who had to resign owing to leaking Budget on his way into the Commons.

Hugh Dalton, Labour Chancellor who had to resign owing to leaking Budget on his way into the Commons.

In the 20thc Churchill had brandy, Lloyd-George whisky and water, Gaitskill orange and rum, whilst Tories, Butler, Macmillan and Thorneycroft made do with water. Later Ken Clarke’s whisky was followed by dour Scots which saw Gordon Brown consume Scottish mineral water, down to Alistair Darling’s tap water.

(1a) He held office until 14th March 1801.

(1b) The first Chancellor of Great Britain after the union with Scotland, was the Whig, Sir John Smith from 22nd April 1708 to 11th August 1710.

(1c) Baldwin in 1923 held both offices after becoming Prime Minister, for a short time.

(2a) 1260-November 1327.

(2b) Stainton was also at times Chief Justice of the King’s Bench and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. On 28th September 1314 he was one of the Barons of the Exchequer.

(3a) Brown was Chancellor 1997-2007. He became Prime Minister on Wednesday 27th June 2007.

(3b) Nicholas Vansittart was Chancellor 1812-23 under Lord Liverpool.

Ref: wikipedia.org/red_budget_(gov). Pic of Case.

Ref: wikipedia.com/Pic of Dalton.

Ref: wikipedia.org/chancellors_of_exchequer.




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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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