Fall of Lloyd George

Essay by Waq5566High School, 11th gradeB+, October 2014

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Lloyd George seemed unshakeable as the Prime Minister in 1918. In the 1918 election his Coalition government seemed to be solidly endorsed by the electorate, with a huge majority. To the Conservatives he seemed indispensable. 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". However, he was to spend less than four years in that position before the Conservatives pushed him from power. Lloyd George had become the Prime Minister in 1916 because of the national wartime emergency, and following the 1918 election he continued, leading the coalition of the majority of Liberals and the Conservatives. The coalition and his personal position at its head both seemed secure with a massive majority of 526 out of 707 MPs. The leaders of the Conservative party were in favour of Lloyd George's leadership, he was still greatly respected for his role in the war, but more importantly, he was thought vital for blocking the continuing rise of socialism, with his appeal to the left and the newly enlarged electorate.

Socialist extremism was increasing quickly, with Trade Union membership increasing from 4.1million to 6.5million during the wars. The Conservative leaders may have also been happy to see the Liberal party remain split between the followers of Lloyd George and Asquith. However, the situation even then was not wholly good for Lloyd George. The split in the Liberal party meant that Asquith was still the official leader, in charge on the assets and machinery of the Liberal party. In the coalition, the Liberals were massively outnumbered, with 133 MPs compared to 383 Conservative MPs. The Conservatives were the only party capable of operating independently, and therefore Lloyd George needed to maintain his popularity with them...