Asquith versus Lloyd George

On 7 December 1916, H.H. Asquith was replaced as Prime Minister by David Lloyd George. The change followed mounting disquiet over the conduct of the First World War, and Lloyd George’s demands that a small committee, not including Asquith, should direct the war effort. Lloyd George forced the issue by resigning from the coalition government. Unionist ministers sided with Lloyd George and indicated their willingness to serve in a government led by him.

The Liberal Party remained divided until the end of the war and beyond. The party fought the next two general elections as two separate groups and the reunion that finally came, in 1923, was, in Asquith’s words, ‘a fiction if not a farce’.

Was the split between Asquith and Lloyd George caused by their contrasting personalities, or by substantive disagreements over management of the war? Or did their rivalry reflect deeper divisions between different Liberal traditions?

Join David Laws and Damian Collins MP to discuss the causes and consequences of the Asquith–Lloyd George rivalry. Both speakers contributed chapters to Iain Dale’s new book, The Prime Ministers: 55 Leaders, 55 Authors, 300 Years of History (Hodder & Stoughton, 2020), David Laws on Asquith and Damian Collins on Lloyd George. Chair: Wendy Chamberlain MP.

This online meeting will start at 7.00pm, following the Liberal Democrat History Group’s AGM at 6.30pm. All welcome.

To register, please click here. (Zoom webinar, kindly hosted for the History Group by Liberal Democrat HQ.)

Related time periods