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Explain why Lloyd George's Government was victorious in the general
election of 1918.
Lloyd George was victorious in the 1918 `coupon' election, called so because Conservative
MP were given a statement of written support for Lloyd George and Bonar Law. Lloyd
George did not have a party base in which he ran for Prime Minister, but he had the full
support of the Conservative Party and some of the divided Liberal Party, the other half still
supporting Asquith. In total Lloyd George had the support of 478 seats, with the 73 Irish
seats refusing to take part in British Government, instead forming their own parliament.
Lloyd George was by 1918 one of the most famous and prominent men in politics.
He had, as the public saw it, single handily won the war, and many people saw his as the only
person, who having won the war could tackle the issue of peace with Germany in the
following times. The press even referred to him as `the man who won the war'. During the
War Lloyd George had been a strong decisive leader who was universally popular with the
people. Throughout the war Lloyd George's strong leadership as minister for War had been
compared to the indecisive, weak leadership by Asquith. When he was appointed Prime
Minister in December 1916 he was seen as a breath of fresh air for his energy and drive that
would greatly benefit the running of the war. Also a decisive factor in Lloyd George's
reputation was that he had the backing of the Conservative Party and 100 Liberals which
gave him a very large majority to do basically whatever he wanted in order to win the war.
In the 1918 election Lloyd George committed to work in coalition with the
Conservative Party, under the direction of Bonar Law, Lloyd George was however to be
Prime Minister even though the Conservative Party was by far the biggest Party, the Liberals
only won 28 seats, with Asquith losing his seat, Sinn Fein won 73 seats, but refused to
partake in Westminster politics and form their own parliament in Dublin called the Dail. This
meant that the Sinn Fein party were effectively removed from parliament and this meant
that there was no possibility of other coalitions to oppose Lloyd George and the
Conservatives. This meant the only real opposition the Coalition, led by Lloyd George, was
the Labour Party, however that Labour party were not popular in public opinion as they had
been discredited for their view of pacifism throughout the war. The conservative support of
Lloyd George was not without benefits for the Conservatives, Lloyd George put the
Conservatives in a position of power, one they had not been in since 1902 Bonar Law said
that Lloyd George could be "Prime Minister for life, if he likes". Also Lloyd George's
reputation as a social reformer would the Conservatives felt help to stop political extremism
which had been seen wide spread in European countries. The new coalition Government
relied heavily upon Conservative support, but at its head was a radical Liberal Lloyd George.
This could reflect that the Tory support for Lloyd George was due to the fact that they felt
that their party was not strong enough to deal with the demands of a peace time
Government. But also by supporting Lloyd George and the liberals in the possibility of
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Liberals would be blamed, so increasing the power of
Conservatives in long run.
Lloyd George although leader of a predominantly Conservative Coalition still retained
his radical instincts for social reform which led him to make outlandish promises such as
`Homes fit for heroes' which promised housing for those who fought in the `Great War'. This
promise proved difficult to carry out in the later years, but initially they were a strongly
supported idea which proved popular with the general public.…read more