The Fall of Lloyd George

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Background Information

  • Lloyd George went into a coalition with the Conservatives in 1916.
  • Due to this, the Liberal Party was split this reached its peak in 1918 with the Maurice Debate and the Coupon Election.
  • At the Calton Club in 1922, the Conservatives end the coalition leaving Lloyd George as Prime Minister without a party (Lord Beaverbrook).

Reasons for his Fall

  •  Conservative Dominance  (main reason for ending coaltion)

-In 1918, the Tories took advantage of the fact Lloyd George was the ‘man that won the war’ to help gain support for the Party.

-However, by 1922 the Conservatives realized they no longer needed him, thus ended the coalition, evident by the victory of the ‘independent conservative’ in a by election in Newport, which used to be a safe seat for the Liberal Party, on the morning of the Carlton Club meeting (187 votes to 87 votes for the coalition), leaving him as a prime minister without a party.

-The retirement of Bonar Law in 1921 meant good relations between the Conservatives and the Liberals stagnated. Austen Chamberlain took over as leader, he was an extremely weak leader and faced a ‘peasants’ revolt by his own backbenches led by Baldwin against the coalition in 1922. Thus Chamberlain felt pressure to end the coalition.

-Policies of Lloyd George and the liberals fell victim to Conservative Dominance such as ‘Homes fit for Heroes’, which was abolished in the Geddes Axe. This was part of the Conservatives anti-waste league. In turn many on the left and many who lost their homes during the war, were angered and electoral support was lost, resulting in his fall. Instead of the ‘man that won the war’, Lloyd George was remembered for cuts.

-Despite this, the Conservatives felt they had to get rid of Lloyd George, he was described as a ‘dictator’ over them e.g. Ireland (Conservative and Unionist Party). As well as this, he was staining the image of the coalition with the Honours Scandal and in 1922 Sir Joseph Robinson became the subject of parliamentary debate, 200MPs voted for the sale of Honours to be dealt with by the government. Many also remembered that House of Lords Crisis he had caused in 1910, coupled with Chanak and splitting the liberal party, he was described as a ‘dynamic force’ by Baldwin. There were fears he would split the Tory party.

  • Policies (used as a pretext to in ending the coalition)

-The Conservatives felt a victim to Lloyd George and his policies.

-Lloyd George alienated the left and right with his policies, which was pivotal in his downfall.

-Despite being in coalition with the Conservatives, Lloyd George alienated them and their support, most notably in his policies for Irish Home Rule like the Government of Ireland Act and the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921. The Conservatives were against Irish independence, especially since they were known as the Conservative and Unionist Party.

-Chanak crisis the Liberals were pro-Greek and

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