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Account for Lloyd George's fall from office in 1922.

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Account for Lloyd George's fall from office in 1922 Lloyd George became Prime Minister in 1916, with the formation of a coalition government, between the Liberals, Labour and the Conservatives. Unfortunately, the outbreak of World War One had divided the liberals. The then Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith had begun to loose his grip as a formidable political figure and when the option of creating a coalition government was forced upon him, he chose to retire. In his place, Lloyd George was appointed. He was radical and charismatic and therefore, just what the country need at this difficult time. After Britain's victory in the war, a general election was called in 1918, which Lloyd George, as the hero from the war, won with a landslide victory. Although Lloyd George had just achieved a great election victory, his political position was still very vulnerable. After Asquith's depart from office, the Liberals had been split, with about half of liberal MPs supporting the old Prime Minister instead of the new. Lloyd George had tried to repair this growing rift in his party by offering Asquith the post of Lord Chancellor, but Asquith, rather foolishly, refused this generous offer. There was no longer any hope of re-uniting the party and Lloyd George had become a 'Prime Minister without a party'. So, Lloyd George, not only had to run a struggling coalition, he had to do it, in effect, without the support of a party. Many factors were contributing to the problems of the coalition. The labour party, led by their coalition representative Arthur Henderson had left the coalition in 1917, leaving it comprised of mainly Tories, with an ex-liberal Prime Minister. The conservatives were perfectly happy to continue with the coalition. They had not won an election since 1902 and they had lost all their self-confidence. They hoped to profit at the coupon election from the Prime Minister's popularity. ...read more.


This is a huge achievement, under the circumstances. The unemployment act of 1920 extended unemployment insurance to millions more workers, covering the majority of the wag-earning population. Benefit was to be paid for the first 15 weeks of unemployment, but unemployment continued to rise and the scheme needed constant modifications. Despite this, the principal of comprehensive protection of unemployed workers had been addressed and without these measures, the unemployment situation would have been much worse. In 1920, the agriculture act had maintained a previous system of price guarantees for wheat and oats. Greater protection was also given to agricultural wages and the protection of tenure was given to tenant farmers. All the above mentioned reforms were curtailed when the slump began in April 1921. Lloyd George's solution was to set up a committee of businessmen, under the direction of Sir Eric Geddes. This commission was to investigate the economic problems and they produced their first report in February 1922. It recommended sweeping cuts in public spending. Addison's housing program had cuts imposed on it, causing Dr Addison to resign and defect to he labour party. Also, the new agriculture act was repealed only a year after it was first enforced, as the wheat priced plummeted and the cost of subsidising the farmers rose steadily. The provisions made by the unemployment act were extended and the unemployment fund could borrow up to 30 million from the treasury to finance the unemployment benefit. Due to the sorrowful conclusion to Lloyd George's reconstruction policies, many people considered them to be a complete failure, but they were, in fact, a relative success. Much was achieved, as the situation would have been worse without the efforts of Addison and other similar policies. People now saw that the 'land fit for heroes' that they had been promised couldn't be delivered by Lloyd George. All the problems outlined so far have been long-term trends or short-term causes, but without a trigger, Lloyd George might not have fallen. ...read more.


Finally, on the 19th September, Austen Chamberlain called a meeting of the conservatives in the Carlton Club in London. Here he lectured backbenchers that they must maintain the coalition as they couldn't win an election without its support, but he was inept and failed to make it clear that he wanted a reconstructed coalition, with a different leader. Most Tories would have agreed that Lloyd George was no longer a desirable leader of the coalition. Stanley Baldwin made an excellent speech. He picked up on an earlier comment about Lloyd George being a 'dynamic force', and illustrated how a dynamic force can be a 'terrible and dangerous thing'. Bonar Law was Lloyd George's former partner and his speech was more moderate, but still, it was clear that he no longer thought Lloyd George should lead the coalition. Bonar laws' presence was vital, as he was needed to rally the discontented Tory majority. A motion was passed saying that the conservatives would fight the next election alone. Chamberlain, a constant supporter of Lloyd George, resigned as leader the next day and later that evening; Lloyd George resigned as Prime Minister. He had at last fallen. As I have shown above, there were many factors that contributed to the fall of Lloyd George. He ascended to the role of Prime Minister of the country in a time of economic and political instability and unrest. He had not only these problems to deal with, but he had to appease a conservative-majority coalition government and all without a party of his won. The triggers that led directly to his down fall all heightened public dissatisfaction with him as a person and as a leader and all, because they came together, contributed to his fall from power, so soon after winning a huge majority in the general election of 1918. Public expectations were too high and any man would fail to meet these high demands made of him. It is therefore not surprising that Lloyd George fell from power, it is perhaps a wonder that he lasted so long. ...read more.

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