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[Fifty men and one woman have held the post of Prime Minister (or, more formally, First Lord of the Treasury) since Robert Walpole was appointed by George I, in 1721. Twenty of them served during the twentieth century. This book aims to provide a succinct account of their political careers,...
[The first twentieth-century Prime Minister was quintessentially a nineteenth-century figure. Yet few people had more influence on the subsequent turn of events, extending almost to the end of the new century, than Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquis of Salisbury (1830–1903). Three...
[The most civilised, and perhaps the most intelligent, of twentieth-century Prime Ministers was Arthur Balfour. He was also, by common consent, one of the least effective. Cynics may conclude that there was a direct connection: that the rough-and-tumble of democratic politics is not designed for...
[In December 1898, Lord Tweedmouth, a former Liberal Chief Whip, travelled to Scotland to meet Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman at his residence at Belmont Castle. His mission: to offer him the leadership of the Liberal Party. Tweedmouth was confident that C.B., as he was universally known, would...
[Gladstone without the passion, and without the religiosity. That would be an inadequate but not altogether misleading description of the last person to head a Liberal government. A complex personality, he himself attempted a somewhat tongue-in-cheek assessment of his own qualities in an idle...
[The child is father to the man, and in no case was this more true than with David Lloyd George — or Dafydd George, as he was first known. Brought up by an adoring uncle — Richard Lloyd — who persuaded him from an early age that he was an exceptional person, with no limits to what he could...
[Andrew Bonar Law has had the misfortune to be remembered — if at all — as ‘the Unknown Prime Minister’. This was partly due to the brevity of his premiership — a mere 209 days — the shortest in modern times, but rather more to a bon mot attributed to Asquith, who attended his funeral in...
[In June 1883 a Harrow schoolboy was flogged by his headmaster, and his adored father was summoned to the school to be warned of his son’s moral wickedness. His offence? He had composed a piece of juvenile pornography and, apparently far worse, had injured the school’s reputation by posting a...
[No person ever did more to help build up a new political party than James Ramsay MacDonald. Few subsequently did more to damage their own creation. That was the essential tragedy of his life.]
[Many leading politicians come from political families which largely shape the course of their own political careers. Yet few have been so dominated, first by the presence, and then by the memory, of his remarkable father as Neville Chamberlain.]
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