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"How far was Lloyd Georges fall from grace in 1922 the result of his own mistakes after 1918, rather than Conservative disillusionment with him?"

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Introduction

"How far was Lloyd Georges fall from grace in 1922 the result of his own mistakes after 1918, rather than Conservative disillusionment with him?" A general election held in 1918 gave Lloyd George and the Conservative coalition a very comfortable majority in parliament, but it also left Lloyd George in an untenable position. The coalition consisted overwhelmingly of Conservatives, meaning that Lloyd George's hold on power was extremely weak. He could not do many of the things he would have liked to do in a purely Liberal government, simply because he did not have the support of the Conservatives. After the war, Lloyd George faced some very serious domestic problems. Firstly was the issue of the German reparations and punishments. There was a strong feeling in Britain that Germany was fully responsible for the war, and therefore should be punished severely. Lloyd George did not subscribe to this opinion. He felt that Germany should be punished, but not to the extent that it ceased to exist. ...read more.

Middle

Knowing that it would be impossible to convince the Conservatives to carry on with the nationalisation, he ordered an independent commission into the matter. He told the trade unions that he would abide by whatever was decided by the commission. Lloyd George assumed he had averted the matter by appointing a top judge, Mr. Justice Sankey. Lloyd George felt that Sankey was bound to want privatisation of the mines. When Sankey found in favour of continuing nationalisation, Lloyd George was in a compromising situation. He had already promised to carry out whatever Mr. Sankey decided, but he did not want to upset the Conservative majority. In the end, Lloyd George decided to do nothing. This greatly upset the trade unions, and resulted in a lasting distrust in him. The Chanak incident resulted in a similar situation for Lloyd George. Firstly, it widened the chasm between the two factions of the coalition further, with Lloyd George supporting the Greeks, and the Conservatives continuing their support of Turkey. ...read more.

Conclusion

The press caught hold of these affairs and made it commonly known, much to the Conservatives dismay. Examples like these show clearly that Lloyd George contributed significantly to his own downfall, but it's likely that the Conservative decline in support played a larger part in his fall from grace. While Lloyd George was popular with the public, he was an electoral asset, but as his popularity among the electorate decreased, so did his support from the Conservatives. Backbench Conservative MPs were particularly upset with continuing the coalition as it meant they had less promotion opportunities as a number of cabinet places had to be filled by Liberal MPs. Even if Lloyd George's popularity among the electorate had remained high, it is hard to imagine the Conservatives wanting to continue the coalition past 1922. The 1918 election had given the Conservatives the confidence they needed after having several years out of power. They realised they would have had a majority in Parliament without the Liberals in the coalition. While it is impossible to ignore Lloyd George's shortcoming as Prime Minster in peace time, it is clear that Conservative disillusionment was the main cause of his downfall. ...read more.

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