What does Leader of the Commons do? Penny Mordaunt role under new PM and Iain Duncan Smith comments explained

The position has been appointed to Penny Mordaunt who came third in the Tory Leadership Contest

New Prime Minister (PM) Liz Truss has appointed Penny Mordaunt as the Leader of the House of Commons.

Mordaunt who went up against Truss in the Tory Leadership contest came third overall, narrowly missing out on a spot in the final.

During an interview with BBC Radio 4 Sir Iain Duncan Smith confirmed he had initially been offered the job but had turned it down.

Truss was sworn in as PM on 6 September and other members of her cabinet include Therese Coffey as the new health minister and Kwasi Kwarteng as the Chancellor.

The new PM faces a tough road ahead with soaring inflation rates and a cost of living crisis.

So what does the Leader of the House of Commons do? Here’s everything you need to know.


Sir Ian Duncan Smith has said he was offered the role, but turned it down (Pic: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg)

What does the Leader of the Commons do?

The Leader of the House of Commons is in charge of organising the government’s legislative programme and chairs the Parliamentary Business and Legislation Cabinet Committee.

They work closely with the Chief Whip and carry out a number of duties including: scheduling business, chairing committee membership and acting as the Deputy Prime Minister.

They act as the government’s representative in the House of Commons and sit on the House of Commons Commission, Public Accounts Commission, Members Estimate Committee and the Speaker’s Committee on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

The role was originally carried out by the PM up until 1942, when it was decided to have a seperate Leader of the House.


Who has been appointed the new Leader of the Commons?

The new Leader of the House of Commons is Penny Mordaunt.

She was appointed to the role under the new PM’s cabinet shake-up.


Mordaunt was previously Minister of State at the Department for International Trade from 2021 to 2022.


She has been a member of the cabinet office since 2014, with seven years of experience under her belt.

Other roles in the cabinet she has held include:

  • Paymaster General, 2020
  • Secretary of State for Defence, 2019
  • Secretary of State for International Development, 2017
  • Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, 2016
  • Minister for the Armed Forces, 2015
  • Minister of Local Government, 2014

Before getting involved in politics Mordaunt worked as a Governor at the World Bank.

Taking to Twitter to share the new PM’s speech, Mordaunt said: “No nonsense, no faff. Here’s what we are going to do, we will work our socks off to deliver and our country can do it. Let’s get to work!”


Sir Ian Duncan Smith was the leader of the Conservative Party from 2001-2003 (Pic: Getty Images)

Did Sir Iain Duncan Smith turn the job down?

It has been revealed that Mordaunt was not originally the first choice for the job.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s The World At One, the MP and former Tory Leader Sir Ian Duncan Smith confirmed he had been offered the role and turned it down.

Duncan Smith said: “I have been offered and said I won’t be taking it up. I’m going back to the backbenches again.

“I am very happy to support her. Sometimes in life you have got to figure out whether you add value to a particular job that you are being asked to do.


“It is all about what I can do and I am very happy to be on the backbenches for the moment.”