Lloyd Georges fall from power in 1922 was the result of his own mistakes Discuss.

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‘Lloyd George’s fall from power in 1922 was the result of his own mistakes’

David Lloyd George (LG) was credited as the ‘man who won the war’, thus earning him a reputation with the British public of which the Conservatives thought they could use to their advantage. Lloyd George's personal popularity and support at the time was summed up by Bonar Law, who said "Lloyd George can be Prime Minister for life if he wants". Yet with Lloyd George gaining less than half the votes the strength of his coalition was already questioned. With Conservative MPs outnumbering Liberals, LG was in effect a PM without a party and a ‘prisoner of the Conservatives’. In time both the Conservatives and Liberals were dissatisfied partly due to various financial and immoral scandals such as the Honours list. There were many reasons for his resignation at the famous meeting at the Carlton Club on 19 October 1922. His handling of the Irish Rising did much to damage his reputation with the electorate due to the atrocities committed by British forces. Furthermore, by nearly drawing Britain into another war over the Chanak incident, proved for many to be the final straw.  

One reason why LG fell from power in 1922 was due to the fact that from the start of the coalition he was without a political party and in effect, was a ‘prisoner of the Conservatives’. Following the war, the Conservatives believed it was to their advantage to have LG leading the coalition due to his popularity. They also believed he would be valuable in blocking the continuous rise of the Labour party as he would be able to appeal to the working class and the left. With the Liberals split and outnumbered with 133 MPs in comparison to 383 Conservative MPs, LG was in dire need of Conservative support. LG did carry out some of the reforms which he had promised during his election campaign which earned him some Conservative backing as it helped diffuse radical socialism. However, due to the depression and unemployment at two million, the Conservatives pressured the government to cut back on spending and benefits which led to Addison resigning in protest. Therefore, without Conservative backing, LG was unable to carry out any of his reforms. The Conservatives on the other hand hoped that he would harness Liberal support and stop the advance of Labour. However, between 1919-1922, Labour had taken seven Liberal seats. This was coupled with further gains by Labour and independent Conservatives in local elections as the Conservative’s policy of retrenchment appealed to the public and was perceived as being able to block the rise of Labour, but the coalition prevented this. This was highlight in a Newport by-election where an independent Conservative MP took a Coalition Liberal seat indicating it was a disadvantage to be associated with the coalition. Therefore, the Conservatives felt that they were better off without LG and that they no longer needed him at the Carlton Club meeting, which was followed by the resignation of LG.

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Another factor which contributed to the fall of LG was the numerous financial and immoral scandals surrounding his career. Most famous and significant of them was the Honours scandal. The Honours list of July 1922 created a storm of disapproval and LG was accused of selling peerages and honours not least to individuals of questionable character and background such as Sir William Vesley (a tax evader). The Conservatives were enraged particularly with the face that their social club had been intruded with miscreants. The honours scandal also enraged King George who described it as a disgrace to the Crown. Furthermore, ...

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