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David Lloyd George

David Lloyd George (January 17, 1863 - March 26, 1945) was a British statesman and the last Liberal Party Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.


David Lloyd George
Although born in Manchester in 1863, David Lloyd George was a Welsh-speaking Welshman, the only Welshman ever to hold the office of Prime Minister in the British government. In his early life he lived in poverty, and throughout his career he attempted to aid the common man at the expense of what he like to call "the Dukes." Lloyd-Geore was brought up under the influence of an uncle, who encouraged him to take up a career in law and go into politics. His flair quickly showed, and he was elected Liberal MP for Caernarfon in 1890. In 1905, he entered the new Liberal Cabinet of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman as President of the Board of Trade, and on Campbell-Bannerman's death he succeeded the new Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1908 to 1915. In this role, he was largely responsible for the introduction of old age pensions in Britain and began what is now referred to as the Welfare State.

Considered a pacifist until 1914, Lloyd George changed his stance when World War I broke out, and became first minister of munitions in 1915 and then war secretary in 1916. He then progressed to replace Herbert Asquith as prime minister of a new wartime coalition government between the Liberals and the Conservatives. This was a move that split his Liberal Party into two factions; those who supported Asquith and those who supported the coalition government. Despite this opposition, Lloyd George steered the country politically through the war, and represented Britain at the Versailles Peace Conference[?], clashing with French Premier Georges Clemenceau.

Lloyd George began to feel the weight of the coalition with the Conservatives after the war. Whilst sympathetic to nationalists and willing to accept the independence of Ireland, he would not do the same for his home country of Wales. His 1918 General Election campaign featured promises of reforms on education, housing, health and transport. The traditionalist Conservative Party, however, had no intention of introducing these reforms, which led to three years of frustrated fighting within the coalition. It was this fighting, coupled with the increasingly differing ideologies of the two forces in a country reeling from the costs of war that led to Lloyd George being removed from power. The Conservatives maintained that they did not need Lloyd George to be electable simply because he was the man who won the war for Britain. They also accused him of selling knighthoods and peerages[?] for money and lacking any executive accountability as prime minister, claiming that he never turned up to Cabinet meetings and banished some government departments to the gardens of 10 Downing Street. A meeting at London's Carlton Club between the frustrated and underused coalition backbenchers sealed Lloyd George's fate. Prominent Conservative politician Austen Chamberlain argued for supporting Lloyd George, while prospective party leader Andrew Bonar Law argued the other way, claiming that breaking up the coalition "wouldn't break Lloyd George's heart".

His perceived double-dealing on many issues alienated many of his former supporters, but there is no doubt that he was a brilliant politician, hence his nickname: The Welsh Wizard. He also had a reputation as a womaniser, and, following the death of his wife, he married his secretary and mistress, Frances Stevenson. After retiring from politics in 1945, he was created an earl, but died shortly afterwards. In the 1930s he had been sent by the British government to try and dissuade Adolf Hitler from his plans of Europe-wide fascist expansion. His son, Gwilym, and daughter, Megan, both followed him into politics and were elected members of parliament.

Quote:"We have to reserve the right to bomb the niggers." "The House of Lords is mr. Balfour's poodle!" "The King and his People or the King and his Peers?!"

Lloyd George's War Cabinet, December 1916 - January 1919

Changes

Some Other Members of the First Lloyd George Government, not in the Cabinet

Lloyd George's Second Government, January 1919 - October 1922

Changes

  • October 1919[?] - Lord Curzon succeeds Balfour as Foreign Secretary. Balfour succeeds Curzon as Lord President. Sir A. Geddes succeeds Sir A. Stanley as President of the Board of Trade. The Local Government Board is abolishd. Christopher Addison becomes Minister of Health. The Board of Agriculture is abolished. Lord Lee becomes Minister of Agriculture. Sir Eric Geddes becomes Minister of Transport.
  • 1920 - Sir H. Greenwood succeeds I. Macpherson as Chief Secretary for Ireland. Sir Robert Stevenson Horne succeeds Sir A. Geddes as President of the Board of Trade. T. McNamara succeeds Horne as Minister of Labour. George Barnes leaves the Cabinet. Sir Laming Worthington-Evans joins the Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio.
  • 1921 - Austen Chamberlain succeeds Bonar Law as Lord Privy Seal. Sir Robert Stevenson Horne succeeds Chamberlain at the Exchequer. Stanley Baldwin succeeds Horne at the Board of Trade. Winston Churchill succeeds Lord Milner as Colonial Secretary. Sir Laming Worthington-Evans succeeds Churchill as War Secretary. Lord Lee succeeds Walter Long at the Admiralty. Sir Arthur Griffith-Boscawen succeeds Lee as Minister of Agriculture. Christopher Addison becomes a Minister without Portfolio. Sir A. Mond succeeds him as Minister of Health. The Ministries of Transport and Munitions are abolished. The Attorney General, Sir G. Hewart, enters the Cabinet.
  • 1922 - Lord Peel succeeds E.S. Montagu as India Secretary. The First Commissioner of Works, Lord Crawford, enters the Cabinet.



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