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No 10 at 300—and not out

Since 1721, PMs have been accountable to an elected parliament for major law changes. But elitism still thrives in the system

By Andrew Adonis  

Photo: Jeff Gilbert / Alamy Stock Photo

This Saturday marks a No 10 achievement to celebrate, whatever you think of Boris Johnson. It is the 300th anniversary of the office of prime minister. Robert Walpole, MP for King’s Lynn, was appointed First Lord of the Treasury on 3rd  April 1721 and soon recognised as “prime” or “first” minister, and before too long was given an official residence in Downing Street, much like the other 54 holders of the office since.

The longevity of the post is remarkable. It is, I think, the oldest office of national executive leadership in the world besides the Pope (who…

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