Skip to content

David Lloyd George

06/12/191619/10/1922

David Lloyd George

David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a Welsh statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1916 to 1922. He was the final Liberal to hold the post of Prime Minister, but his support increasingly came from the Conservatives who finally dropped him.

Lloyd George was a first language Welsh speaker, born on 17 January 1863 in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, to Welsh parents. He was raised in Wales from around 3 months old, first briefly in Pembrokeshire, and then in Llanystumdwy, Carnarvonshire. He is so far the only British Prime Minister to have been Welsh[a] and to have spoken English as a second language. His father, a schoolmaster, died in 1864 and he was raised in Wales by his mother and her shoemaker brother, whose Liberal politics and Baptist faith strongly influenced Lloyd George; the same uncle helped the boy embark on a career as a solicitor after leaving school. Lloyd George became active in local politics, gaining a reputation as an orator and a proponent of a Welsh blend of radical Liberalism which championed nonconformism and the disestablishment of the Anglican church in Wales, equality for labourers and tenant farmers, and reform of land ownership. In 1890, he narrowly won a by-election to become the Member of Parliament for Caernarvon Boroughs, in which seat he remained for 55 years. Lloyd George served in Henry Campbell-Bannerman's cabinet from 1905. After H. H. Asquith succeeded to the premiership in 1908, Lloyd George replaced him as Chancellor of the Exchequer. To fund extensive welfare reforms he proposed taxes on land ownership and high incomes in the "People's Budget" (1909), which the Conservative-dominated House of Lords rejected. The resulting constitutional crisis was only resolved after two elections in 1910 and the passage of the Parliament Act 1911. His budget was enacted in 1910, and with the National Insurance Act 1911 and other measures helped to establish the modern welfare state. In 1913, he was embroiled in the Marconi scandal, but he remained in office and promoted the disestablishment of the Church in Wales, until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 suspended its implementation.

As wartime Chancellor Lloyd George strengthened the country's finances and forged agreements with trade unions to maintain production. In 1915, Asquith formed a Liberal-led wartime coalition with the Conservatives and Labour. Lloyd George became Minister of Munitions and rapidly expanded production. In 1916, he was appointed Secretary of State for War but was frustrated by his limited power and clashes with the military establishment over strategy. Amid stalemate on the Western Front, confidence in Asquith's leadership waned. He was forced to resign in December 1916; Lloyd George succeeded him as Prime Minister, supported by the Conservatives and some Liberals. He centralised authority through a smaller war cabinet, a new Cabinet Office and his "Garden Suburb" of advisers. To combat food shortages he implemented the convoy system, established rationing, and stimulated farming. After supporting the disastrous French Nivelle Offensive in 1917, he had to reluctantly approve Field Marshal Haig's plans for the Battle of Passchendaele which resulted in huge casualties with little strategic benefit. Against the views of his commanders, he was finally able to see the Allies brought under one command in March 1918. The war effort turned to their favour that August and was won in November. In the aftermath he and the Conservatives maintained their coalition with popular support following the December 1918 "Coupon" election. His government had extended the franchise to all men and some women earlier in the year.

Lloyd George was a major player in the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 but the situation in Ireland worsened that year, erupting into the Irish War of Independence, which lasted until Lloyd George negotiated independence for the Irish Free State in 1921. At home he initiated reforms to education and housing but trade union militancy entered record levels, the economy became depressed in 1920 and unemployment rose; spending cuts followed (1921–22) and he was embroiled in a scandal over the sale of honours and the Chanak Crisis in 1922. Bonar Law won backbench support for the Conservatives to contend the next election alone. Lloyd George resigned; with his party split between his and Asquith's supporters, his faction won just over 50 seats in the 1922 election, Asquith's just over 60. The next year the pair reunited to oppose Stanley Baldwin's tariff proposal which he put to the country. The Liberals made gains in 1923 but remained third after the Conservatives and Labour; propping up a Labour minority government, they never regained their status as second party and, when the Labour government fell, went down to just over 40 seats in 1924 under Asquith. Lloyd George led the Liberals from 1926 to 1931, putting forward innovative proposals for public works; this failed to convert into seats in 1929 and from 1931 he was a marginalised and mistrusted figure heading a small rump of breakaway Liberals opposed to the National Government. He declined an offer to serve in Winston Churchill's War Cabinet in 1940 and was raised to the peerage in 1945, shortly before his death.


0 comments

Comment

No comments avaliable.

Author

Info

Published in 10/09/2020

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic U.K. - Prime Ministers:


03/04/172111/02/1742Robert WalpoleRobert Walpole
16/02/174202/07/1743Spencer ComptonSpencer Compton
27/08/174306/03/1754Henry PelhamHenry Pelham
16/03/175411/11/1756Thomas Pelham-HollesThomas Pelham-Holles
16/11/175629/06/1757William CavendishWilliam Cavendish
29/06/175726/05/1762Thomas Pelham-HollesThomas Pelham-Holles
26/05/176208/04/1763John StuartJohn Stuart
16/04/176310/07/1765George GrenvilleGeorge Grenville
13/07/176530/07/1766Charles Watson-WentworthCharles Watson-Wentworth
30/07/176614/10/1768William PittWilliam Pitt
14/10/176828/01/1770Augustus FitzRoyAugustus FitzRoy
28/01/177027/03/1782Frederick NorthFrederick North
27/03/178201/07/1782Charles Watson-WentworthCharles Watson-Wentworth
04/07/178226/03/1783William PettyWilliam Petty
02/04/178318/12/1783William Cavendish-BentinckWilliam Cavendish-Bentinck
19/12/178314/03/1801William PittWilliam Pitt
17/03/180110/05/1804Henry AddingtonHenry Addington
10/05/180423/01/1806William PittWilliam Pitt
11/02/180625/03/1807William GrenvilleWilliam Grenville
31/03/180704/10/1809William Cavendish-BentinckWilliam Cavendish-Bentinck
04/10/180911/05/1812Spencer PercevalSpencer Perceval
08/06/181209/04/1827Robert JenkinsonRobert Jenkinson
12/04/182708/08/1827George CanningGeorge Canning
31/08/182708/01/1828Frederick John RobinsonFrederick John Robinson
22/01/182816/11/1830Arthur WellesleyArthur Wellesley
22/11/183009/07/1834Charles GreyCharles Grey
16/07/183414/11/1834William LambWilliam Lamb
17/11/183409/12/1834Arthur WellesleyArthur Wellesley
10/12/183408/04/1835Robert PeelRobert Peel
18/04/183530/08/1841William LambWilliam Lamb
30/08/184129/06/1846Robert PeelRobert Peel
30/06/184621/02/1852John RussellJohn Russell
23/02/185217/12/1852Edward Smith-StanleyEdward Smith-Stanley
19/12/185230/01/1855George Hamilton-GordonGeorge Hamilton-Gordon
06/02/185519/02/1858Henry John TempleHenry John Temple
20/02/185811/06/1859Edward Smith-StanleyEdward Smith-Stanley
12/06/185918/10/1865Henry John TempleHenry John Temple
29/10/186526/06/1866John RussellJohn Russell
28/06/186625/02/1868Edward Smith-StanleyEdward Smith-Stanley
27/02/186801/12/1868Benjamin DisraeliBenjamin Disraeli
03/12/186817/02/1874William Ewart GladstoneWilliam Ewart Gladstone
20/02/187421/04/1880Benjamin DisraeliBenjamin Disraeli
23/04/188009/06/1885William Ewart GladstoneWilliam Ewart Gladstone
23/06/188528/01/1886Robert Gascoyne-CecilRobert Gascoyne-Cecil
01/02/188620/07/1886William Ewart GladstoneWilliam Ewart Gladstone
25/07/188611/08/1892Robert Gascoyne-CecilRobert Gascoyne-Cecil
15/08/189202/03/1894William Ewart GladstoneWilliam Ewart Gladstone
05/03/189422/06/1895Archibald PrimroseArchibald Primrose
25/06/189511/07/1902Robert Gascoyne-CecilRobert Gascoyne-Cecil
12/07/190204/12/1905Arthur BalfourArthur Balfour
05/12/190503/04/1908Henry Campbell-BannermanHenry Campbell-Bannerman
08/04/190805/12/1916H. H. AsquithH. H. Asquith
06/12/191619/10/1922David Lloyd GeorgeDavid Lloyd George
23/10/192220/05/1923Bonar LawBonar Law
22/05/192322/01/1924Stanley BaldwinStanley Baldwin
22/01/192404/11/1924Ramsay MacDonaldRamsay MacDonald
04/11/192404/06/1929Stanley BaldwinStanley Baldwin
05/06/192907/06/1935Ramsay MacDonaldRamsay MacDonald
07/06/193528/05/1937Stanley BaldwinStanley Baldwin
28/05/193710/05/1940Neville ChamberlainNeville Chamberlain
10/05/194026/07/1945Winston ChurchillWinston Churchill
26/07/194526/10/1951Clement AttleeClement Attlee
26/10/195105/04/1955Winston ChurchillWinston Churchill
06/04/195509/01/1957Anthony EdenAnthony Eden
10/01/195718/10/1963Harold MacmillanHarold Macmillan
19/10/196316/10/1964Alec Douglas-HomeAlec Douglas-Home
16/10/196419/06/1970Harold WilsonHarold Wilson
19/06/197004/03/1974Edward HeathEdward Heath
04/03/197405/04/1976Harold WilsonHarold Wilson
05/04/197604/05/1979James CallaghanJames Callaghan
04/05/197928/11/1990Margaret ThatcherMargaret Thatcher
28/11/199002/05/1997John MajorJohn Major
02/05/199727/06/2007Tony BlairTony Blair
27/06/200711/05/2010Gordon BrownGordon Brown
11/05/201013/07/2016David CameronDavid Cameron
13/07/201624/07/2019Theresa MayTheresa May
04/07/201910/09/2020Boris JohnsonBoris Johnson