Recent examples of non-MP leaders for well-known UK parties are Natalie Bennett and Nigel Farage.
This seems to generally only be the case if the party had very few or no elected MPs when choosing a leader. But would it be reasonable for, say, Labour or the Liberal Democrats to elect someone who is not an MP but because they have good leadership qualities?
When a party decides who should be an MP, what are the disadvantages of electing someone who does not hold a seat in government? What would happen if they were elected prime minister?
Finally, is it mandatory that, if a leader or PM loses their seat in an election they should stand down from their leadership position, or this only customary?