Britain 1922-1929 AQA British History.

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Britain 1922-1929. Who governed Britain 1922 ­ 1929 & key events and policies of
this period?
British Governments
· 15th Nov 1922 ­ Conservative govt elected, Bonar Law PM
· 6th Dec 1923 ­ Labour minority govt elected, Ramsey MacDonald PM
· 29th Oct 1924 ­ Conservative govt elected, Stanley Baldwin PM
· 30th May 1929 Labour minority govt elected, Ramsey MacDonald PM
Conservatives 19221923
· Offered a govt of "tranquillity and stability" BUT all parties gained about 1/3rd of the
votes.
· Labour increased their seats from 62 in 1918 to 142 in 1922.
Key Issues
· Continued economic decline and the never ending problem of unemployment which
never fell below 700,000 at best.
· Militancy ­ although this tended to be around the mining industry.
· Free Trade vs Protectionism ­ action needed to be taken to help promote industry at
home.
Key Actions
· Housing ­ the govt offered £6 p.a. for 20 years for every house built for public and
private houses. It was hoped that this would encourage builders to offer houses for
sale. BUT this tended to be better for the middle classes therefore for many working
classes the poor housing situation they found themselves in did not go away.
· Bonar Law's health seriously deteriorated and he was forced to resign in May 1923.
He had failed to nominate a successor.
· In the end, the King appointed Baldwin ­ a surprise choice over the more well known
Lord Curzon.
· Despite the political issues that may have arisen Baldwin decided that Protectionist
Tariffs were necessary in Oct 1923.
· In doing so Baldwin believed that he would need to appeal to the voters and hold a
general election in order to make sure that he had public backing for the scheme ­ this
would put an end to any potential rebellion within the party.
The Election
· The decision to hold an election has always been a surprise one. Baldwin had a
majority ­ and didn't need to go to the country for another 4 years!
· In the end Conservatives maintained a majority but faced a Lib Lab "union" that
promised to fight Protectionist Tariffs. In the end the king asked the Labour party to
form a government.
Why go to the country?
· 1. Baldwin later claimed that he did this to reunite the party. He believed that it was
worth losing the election just to regain the pro Coalition Conservatives back from Ll G.
· 2. This would help with the perennial unemployment policy. It would be a help against
the Labour Party and would keep quiet the die hard right wingers of the party.
· 3. It would be a new policy to reinvigorate the party and would bring others back into
the fold ie. Austen Chamberlain etc.
· 4. Baldwin was a new, inexperienced, leader and the announcement caused shock.
Many had committed themselves publicly to Free Trade, at grass roots level no
preparations had been made for the announcement and he had not secured support
from the Mail and the Express
The First Labour Government 19231924

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MacDonald's key policy was to make sure that the electorate saw the Labour party as
`fit to govern'. This would broaden the party's appeal and in the end gain them more
votes. Once this was done then a more `radical' programme of reforms could be
introduced.
· The cabinet MacDonald formed was a mix of popular men and inexperienced men ­
who were put in place to learn the ropes (as MacDonald claimed).
· MacDonald was both PM and Foreign Secretary.…read more

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Local Authorities were given extended powers over roads, public health and for certain
areas of child welfare.
· He also reformed the local tax (or rate system)
· In 1926 the Central Electricity Board was established leading to the National Grid.
· The BBC was brought under public ownership.
· The vote was extended to all women over the age of 21 ­ there were now 2 million
more women voters then men!
The 1929 Election
· In 1929 the election was held.…read more

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