Whips are MPs appointed by each party in Parliament and are responsible, together with the Leader and Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, for arranging the business in Parliament. This group is often referred to as the ‘usual channels’.

The main role of the Chief Whip is to get the Government’s business through Parliament and to ensure a Government majority in votes on its legislative and policy programme.

Whips frequently act as tellers (counting the votes in a division and announcing the results) and also manage the pairing system that allows Members to miss a vote by pairing up with an MP from an opposition party.

In the House of Lords, the team of Government Whips speak at the dispatch box to represent those departments which are not otherwise represented in the House by Ministers.

This spreadsheets lists the Government Chief Whips and Deputy Chief Whips since 1945.

  • Worksheet 1 shows the Chief Whips in the Commons and the Lords
  • Worksheet 2 shows the Deputy Whips in the Commons and the Lords

The third worksheet gives Chief Whips by party:

  • Conservative and Labour Chief Whips from 1979
  • Liberal Democrats Chief Whips since 1989
  • Scottish National Party chief whip since 2015

Parliament: facts and figures

This series of publications contains data on various subjects relating to Parliament and Government. Topics include legislation, MPs, select committees, debates, divisions and Parliamentary procedure.


Please send any comments or corrections to the Parliament & Constitution Centre. Suggestions for new lists welcomed.

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