Lord High Treasurer

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The Lord High Treasurer bears a white staff as his symbol of office. This is William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley from NPG (2).jpg
The Lord High Treasurer bears a white staff as his symbol of office. This is William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley.

The post of Lord High Treasurer or Lord Treasurer was an English government position and has been a British government position since the Acts of Union of 1707. A holder of the post would be the third-highest-ranked Great Officer of State, below the Lord High Steward and the Lord High Chancellor.

In the United Kingdom the Great Officers of State are traditional ministers of The Crown who either inherit their positions or are appointed to exercise certain largely ceremonial functions or to operate as members of the government. Separate Great Officers of State exist for England and for Scotland, and formerly for Ireland. Many of the Great Officers became largely ceremonial because historically they were so influential that their powers had to be resumed by the Crown or dissipated.

The position of Lord High Steward is the first of the Great Officers of State in England, nominally ranking above the Lord Chancellor.

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The Lord High Treasurer functions as the head of Her Majesty's Treasury. Since the 17th century, the office has often been held, not by a single person, but placed in commission, so that a board of individuals jointly exercise the powers of the Lord High Treasurer. Such persons are known as Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. The office has been in commission continuously since the resignation of Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury in 1714.

HM Treasury United Kingdom government department

Her Majesty's Treasury, sometimes referred to as the Exchequer, or more informally the Treasury, is the British government department responsible for developing and executing the government's public finance policy and economic policy. The Treasury maintains the Online System for Central Accounting and Reporting (OSCAR), the replacement for the Combined Online Information System (COINS), which itemises departmental spending under thousands of category headings, and from which the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) annual financial statements are produced.

In the United Kingdom there are at least six Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, serving as a commission for the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer. The board consists of the First Lord of the Treasury, the Second Lord of the Treasury, and four or more junior lords to whom this title is usually applied.

Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury British diplomat

Sir Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury, 12th Earl of Shrewsbury, 12th Earl of Waterford, KG, PC was an English politician who was part of the Immortal Seven group that invited William III, Prince of Orange to depose James II of England as monarch during the Glorious Revolution. He was appointed to several minor roles before the revolution, but came to prominence as a member of William's government. Born to Roman Catholic parents, he remained in that faith until 1679 when—during the time of the Popish Plot and following the advice of the divine John Tillotson—he converted to the Church of England. Shrewsbury took his seat in the House of Lords in 1680 and three years later was appointed Gentleman-Extraordinary of the Bedchamber, suggesting he was in favour at the court of Charles II.

Although the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created in 1801, it was not until the Consolidated Fund Act 1816 that the separate offices of Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain and Lord High Treasurer of Ireland were united into one office as the Lord High Treasurer of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 5 January 1817. [1] The office continued in commission and the commissioners of the old office of Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain continued as the commissioners of the new combined office. [1]

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Historical sovereign state from 1801 to 1927

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Lord High Treasurer of Ireland was the head of the Exchequer of Ireland, chief financial officer of the Kingdom of Ireland. The designation High was added in 1695. After the Acts of Union 1800 created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Consolidated Fund Act 1816 merged the Irish Inferior Exchequer into the British Treasury with effect from 1817, and the post of Lord High Treasurer of Ireland was abolished. The Superior Irish Exchequer, or Court of Exchequer, remained, led by the Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer.

In modern times, by convention, the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury include the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, usually serving as the "First Lord of the Treasury", and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, serving as the "Second Lord of the Treasury". Other members of the government, usually whips in the House of Commons, are appointed to serve as the junior Lords Commissioners of the Treasury.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Head of UK Government

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, and together with their Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and ultimately to the electorate. The office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Senior official in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom responsible for economic and financial matters

The Chancellor and Under-Treasurer of Her Majesty's Exchequer, commonly known as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or simply the Chancellor, is a senior official within the Government of the United Kingdom and head of Her Majesty's Treasury. The office is a British Cabinet-level position.

A whip is an official of a political party whose task is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. This usually means ensuring that members of the party vote according to the party platform, rather than according to their own individual ideology or the will of their constituents.

Origins

The English Treasury seems to have come into existence around 1126, during the reign of Henry I, as the financial responsibilities were separated from the rest of the job that evolved into Lord Great Chamberlain. The Treasury was originally a section of the Royal Household with custody of the King's money. In 1216, a Treasurer was appointed to take control of the Treasury in Winchester. The Treasurer was also an officer of the Exchequer, and supervised the royal accounts. By Tudor times, the Lord High Treasurer had achieved a place among the Great Officers of State, behind the Lord Chancellor and above the Master of the Horse. Under the Treason Act 1351 it was treason to kill him.

Henry I of England 12th-century King of England and Duke of Normandy

Henry I, also known as Henry Beauclerc, was King of England from 1100 to his death in 1135. Henry was the fourth son of William the Conqueror and was educated in Latin and the liberal arts. On William's death in 1087, Henry's elder brothers Robert Curthose and William Rufus inherited Normandy and England, respectively, but Henry was left landless. Henry purchased the County of Cotentin in western Normandy from Robert, but William and Robert deposed him in 1091. Henry gradually rebuilt his power base in the Cotentin and allied himself with William against Robert. Henry was present when William died in a hunting accident in 1100, and he seized the English throne, promising at his coronation to correct many of William's less popular policies. Henry married Matilda of Scotland but continued to have a large number of mistresses by whom he had many illegitimate children.

Lord Great Chamberlain Great Officer of State for England

In the United Kingdom, the Lord Great Chamberlain is the sixth of the Great Officers of State, ranking beneath the Lord Privy Seal and above the Lord High Constable. The Lord Great Chamberlain has charge over the Palace of Westminster.

Exchequer

In the civil service of the United Kingdom, Her Majesty’s Exchequer, or just the Exchequer, is the accounting process of central government and the government's current account i.e. money held from taxation and other government revenues in the Consolidated Fund. It can be found used in various financial documents including the latest departmental and agency annual accounts.

During the sixteenth century, the Lord High Treasurer was often considered the most important official of the government, and became a de facto Prime Minister. Exemplifying the power of the Lord High Treasurer is William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, who served in the post from 1572 to 1598. During his tenure, he dominated the administration under Elizabeth I. [2]

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley English statesman

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, was an English statesman, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572. Albert Pollard says, "From 1558 for forty years the biography of Cecil is almost indistinguishable from that of Elizabeth and from the history of England."

Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 24 March 1603

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

List of Lords High Treasurers

Modern commissioners

Since then a system has evolved which has hardly varied. Today, the First Lord of the Treasury is as a rule the Prime Minister, and the Second Lord of the Treasury is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has inherited most of the functional financial responsibilities. Next rank the "Junior Lords of the Treasury" who, though theoretically members of the Treasury Board, in practice serve as Government Whips under the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Chief Whip).

Current commissioners consist of Prime Minister Theresa May and Philip Hammond; with junior lords as David Evennett MP, John Penrose MP, Mel Stride MP, Charlie Elphicke MP, George Hollingbery MP and Guto Bebb MP. [3]

See also

Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lord High Treasurer". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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References

  1. 1 2 "Consolidated Fund Act 1816". legislation.gov.uk. UK Government. p. Section 2. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  2. Loades, D., The Cecils: Privilege and Power behind the throne, The National Archives, 2007.
  3. "Ministers". GOV.UK. Retrieved 24 January 2017.