By K. Theakston
Having misplaced an election, been thrown out by means of their celebration, or retired on grounds of ill-health, what do former British top ministers do? within the first publication to examine the lives, political roles and effect of former leading ministers, Theakston analyzes the entire former leading ministers from Walpole within the 18th century to Blair this present day.
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Additional resources for After Number 10: Former Prime Ministers in British Politics
He hoped he might be able to moderate policy towards the American colonies but found he could exert little inﬂuence, and in November 1775 resigned. A rather independent ﬁgure, who did not have a political group around him, he was nevertheless considered a ﬁgure worth catching, whose support could be valuable. Both North in 1779 and Pitt in 1783–84 offered him Cabinet posts, but he turned them down. He was in opposition against North from 1775 to 1782 and returned to ofﬁce as Lord Privy Seal for a second time under Rockingham and Shelburne in 1782–83.
Most of his Cabinet colleagues were now several decades younger than him and he had been a power in the land and a Secretary of State before the new prime minister (aged just 35) had even been born. Newcastle became Lord Privy Seal, the post carrying no ofﬁcial duties, but he was given special responsibility for ecclesiastical affairs and patronage, dealing directly with the King on church appointments. He was restored to his position as Lord Lieutenant of Nottingham and Steward of Sherwood Forest.
For a year or so he remained active in debate and in opposition to the government. But from the mid-1780s rapidlydeteriorating health, and a realisation there was no political future for him, led him to withdraw more into private and family life. He tended to appear in the Commons only for subjects that particularly interested him (such as speaking out against parliamentary reform and in defence of the established church). 51 By the late 1780s North was ‘sick, blind and old beyond his years’. His eyesight had never been good and by 1787 he was virtually blind.
After Number 10: Former Prime Ministers in British Politics by K. Theakston