My history hero: David Lloyd George (1863-1945)

BBC news presenter Huw Edwards tells York Membery why he admires the 20th-century prime minister

Liberal MP and former prime pinister David Lloyd George. (Photo by Jimmy Sime/Central Press/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the Christmas 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine

David Lloyd George was prime minister from 1916 to 1922, and was hailed as “the man who won the war”. Born in humble circumstances, he grew up in north Wales. After qualifying as a solicitor, in 1890 he was elected Liberal MP for Carnarvon (now Caernarfon), a seat he would hold in every election until his elevation to the Lords in 1945. He served as president of the board of trade (1905–08) and then chancellor of the exchequer (1908–15) in Liberal administrations, helping to introduce reforms such as old age pensions and National Insurance (1911), but his 1909 ‘People’s Budget’ was rejected by the House of Lords, sparking a constitutional crisis. In 1915, a year after the outbreak of the First World War, he became a highly effective minister of munitions. He succeeded Asquith as prime minister in 1916 and, after the German surrender, won a landslide victory in the ‘Coupon Election’ of 1918. He played a pivotal role in the Treaty of Versailles but was forced from office in 1922.

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