Lloyd George becomes prime minister
The 6th of December 1916 AD
When David Lloyd George’s time at Number Ten was up, his government felled by scandal, a world war had been won, and a society drastically reformed.
His ignominious end was out of step with his political achievements: he was the man that gave women the vote in 1918; it was his tenacity that helped arm the Western Front, and coalesced the Allies war efforts under the charge of one man, the French general Ferdinand Foch.
Welsh by way of Manchester , George moved back to Ty Newydd after is father died. David Lloyd George was the only British prime minister whose first language was not English. Imbued with liberal ideology from an early age, he became politically active in 1885. He was then a young lawyer with big ideas, and was seduced both Joseph Chamberlain ’s radicalism.
George entered the business of government when Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman appointed him president of the Board of Trade. It was a post which stood him in good stead for his next role as chancellor of the exchequer. George was a working class chancellor. His budget of 1909 was rejected by the House of Lords. The second house has never been popular in the mindset of Liberal thinking, not at a time when the House of Commons was populated by hereditary peers, the majority Conservative.
The rejection of his budget led to the Parliament Act of 1911, reining in the Lords’ veto. George succeeded HH Asquith in 1916, leading a coalition government at a time when Britain had problems at home and abroad. The First World War was still killing young men by the thousands, and revolution in Ireland brought the Gladstone question of Irish home rule to the forefront of the political agenda.
After a split with the Conservatives in 1922, the coalition fractured over disputes over foreign policy, the selling of peerages scandal brought an end to his time in office. He died on the 26th March 1945 in his home town of Ty Newydd. The controversial end to his career as prime minister didn’t fully eclipse a political legacy built on reform.
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