The 1931 general election

The National Government was formed in August 1931, following the failure of Ramsay Macdonald's minority Labour administration to deal with the mounting unemployment that was paralysing Britain. The Conservatives had been pressing for the adoption of protection throughout the proceeding period and the public were becoming increasingly frustrated by the apparent ineffectiveness of the free trade policy, that had underpinned Britain's economic policy since the repeal of the Corn Laws. In contrast, the majority of Liberals remained distinctly opposed to the introduction of protection, which they associated with inflated food prices, vested interests and international conflict. The new administration was therefore far from harmonious.

Liberal Party funding between the wars

One of the major problems facing the Liberal Party in the inter-war period was the lack of funds that they had at their disposal. As the Party became increasingly defunct, so it became impossible to attract the wealthy donors, who formed the foundation of the Liberal finances.

Liberal Nadir, 1935-56

The 1935 General Election was a catastrophic defeat for the Liberals. The number of MPs for the party was reduced to 19, 12 of whom had majorities of less than 2,000, seven less than 1,000. The party's leader, Herbert Samuel, former Cabinet Minister and Governor-General of Palestine, was defeated at Darwen in Lancashire; other leading Liberals such as Isaac Foot, Harcourt Johnstone and Walter Rea all shared the same fate.

Local history: Wembley Young Liberals in the 1950s

Alan Knight on being active in the Wembley North Young Liberals in the early 1950s.

Journal articles

Lord Davies of Llandinam Papers

Description of the papers of Lord Davies of Llandinam held at the Welsh Political Archive at the National Library of Wales

Women in politics

Review of J. Gottlieb and R. Toye (eds.), The Aftermath of Suffrage: Women, Gender, and Politics in Britain, 1918–1945 (Macmillan, 2013)

The long march of British history

Review of Martin Pugh, State and Society. A Social and Political History of Britain since 1870 (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017)

Europe: The Liberal Commitment

Autumn Conference fringe meeting, 16 September 2018, with Anthony Howe and Eugenio Biagini; chair: Julie Smith.

The long-lived Liberal Party of Canada

An examination of the history of the Canadian Liberal Party.

A truly remarkable man – but not a universal man

Review of Richard Davenport-Hines, Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes (William Collins, 2015)

How the Liberal Party became committed to the European Union

The Liberal contribution to the Council of Europe

‘Pacifism is not enough; nor patriotism, either’

The life of Philip Kerr, Lord Lothian

Liberals, free trade and Europe

From Cobden to the Common Market

The Nonconformist mind of Lloyd George

The roots of Lloyd George’s political beliefs

Churchill’s attitude to Ireland

Review of Paul Bew, Churchill and Ireland (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Churchill Archives Centre

Liberal archives at the Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge

Sir Walter Runciman and the Runciman papers at Elshieshields Tower

The life and political career of the Liberal MP Sir Walter Runciman (1847–1937) through the lens of his papers

Lloyd George in cartoons

Review of Alan Mumford, David Lloyd George: A Biography in Cartoons (Matador, 2014).

The economic policies and initiatives of the Liberal Party

Review of Peter Sloman, The Liberal Party and the Economy, 1929–1964, Oxford Historical Monographs (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Madam Mayor

Assessing Edward Grey

Review of Michael Waterhouse, Edwardian Requiem: A Life of Sir Edward Grey (Biteback, 2013)

Lloyd George and Churchill as war leaders

A comparison of the two great wartime leaders

Friends and allies

Review of Ian Hunter (ed.), Winston and Archie: The Letters of Sir Archibald Sinclair and Winston S. Churchill (Politico’s, 2005).

‘His presence generated electricity’

Review of Peter Barberis, Liberal Lion, Jo Grimond: A Political Life (I.B. Tauris, 2005).

The forgotten leader

Review of Alan Wyburn-Powell, Clement Davies: Liberal Leader (Politico’s, 2003).

Too short a history

Review of Chris Cook, A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900-2001 (Palgrave, 2002).

Liberals and the Suez crisis

The most complex character

Review of Antony Lentin, Lloyd George and the Lost Peace: From Versailles to Hitler, 1914-1940 (Palgrave, 2001).

Internationalism and interdependency

Review of Richard S. Grayson, Liberals, International Relations and Appeasement (Frank Cass, 2001).

The strange survival of Liberal Lancashire

Walter Runciman and the decline of the Liberal Party

Liberal defectors identified and explored

Review of Alun Wyburn-Powell, Defectors and the Liberal Party, 1910-2010: A Study of Inter-Party Relations (Manchester University Press, 2012).

Elegant and concise

Review of David Dutton, A History of the Liberal Party Since 1900 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd edition, 2013).

The last of the Liberals

Liberal roots

‘We can conquer unemployment’

Lloyd George and the appeasement of Germany

Lloyd George and appeasement

Review of Stella Rudman, Lloyd George and the Appeasement of Germany 1919-1945 (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011).

The wonderful wizard as was

A life-long espousal of Liberal values

Review of Mark Pottle (ed.), Daring to Hope: The Diaries and Letters of Violet Bonham Carter 1946 – 1969 (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000).

The party leader who never was

Review of Mark Pottle (ed.), Champion Redoubtable: The Diaries and Letters of Violet Bonham Carter 1914-1945 (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998).

A man of government

Review of Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain 1937-46 (Macmillan, 2000).

More mirage than vision

Review of Garry Tregidga, The Liberal Party in South-West Britain since 1918: Political Decline, Dormancy and Rebirth (University of Exeter Press, 2000).

Neville Chamberlain: Policy Wonk

Review of Graham Stewart, Burying Caesar: Churchill, Chamberlain and the Battle for the Tory Party (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999).

Re-establishing the faith

Report: Dancing the Charleston again

Churchill, Clement Davies and the Ministry of Education

A breach in the family

Tory cuckoos in the Liberal nest?

‘A sad business’

The watchword liberty

Review of, 50 Years On: A History of the Association of Liberal Democrat Trade Unionists, 1947-97 (Association of Liberal Democrat Trade Unionists, 1997).

The 8:30 Club: a Liberal Debating Society of the 1930s

The SDP’s ideological legacy

Harry Willcock: the forgotten champion of Liberalism

Report: from Beveridge to Blair

The Labour Party and the pursuit of the Liberal vote, 1945-1959

Report: why didn’t the Liberal Party die?

1945 and all that

The Liberal Party and the fall of the Chamberlain government

The Liberal Party’s performance in 1945

The Liberal performance in 1945

The Liberal Party and the 1945 election

The slow death of Liberal Wales 1906 – 1979

The fighting parson

Battle of ideas or absence of leadership?

Sir Archibald Sinclair, the Liberal Party and the abdication of King Edward VIII

The heyday of Liberal internationalism

Archibald Sinclair: Liberal anti-appeaser

The growth of Liberal International

Liberals and Europe

Biography: Archie Macdonald

The Liberal Party and general elections

A real triumph for my old friend

The Lord Chancellor who never was

Keeper of the Liberal flame

Liberalism and Unionist Northern Ireland

Liberal unity frustrated

The final quest for Liberal reunion 1943-46

Impacts of reunification?

Liberals cheer Mr Churchill


Liberalism reunited: the Huddersfield experience 1945-47

The Liberal Party and the Popular Front

Liberal class warrior

Reviews: Issue 10

Reviews of Trevor Wilson, The Downfall of the Liberal Party 1914-1935 (Collins, 1966); Michael and Eleanor Brock (eds.), H. H. Asquith: Letters to Venetia Stanley (Oxford University Press, 1982).

1945-1964: The gory, gory years

The Inverness turning point

Last of the Midland radicals

Learning the lessons of history: Liberalism in the 1930s

Life with Lloyd George

A Radical Life

Review of Mervyn Jones, A Radical Life: The Biography of Megan Lloyd George (Hutchinson, 1991).

‘A dynamic force is a terrible thing’

Review of Martin Pugh, Lloyd George (Longmans, 1988).

Liberal civil war: Denbigh, Oldham and the 1935 election

Liberals and the 1945 election (1)

Review of Malcolm Baines, The Liberal Party and the 1945 General Election (Contemporary Record 9:1, Summer 1995).

Liberals and the 1945 election (2)

Review of Peter Joyce, The Liberal Party and the 1945 General Election (Liberal Democrat History Group, Sept. 1995).

The two great wartime leaders

Review of Richard Toye, Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness (Macmillan, 2007).

The Glyndwr manuscripts

Report: Torrington ’58 – Liberal survival and revival, 1945-79

The yellow glass ceiling: the mystery of the disappearing Liberal women MPs

Radical Action and the Liberal Party during the Second World War

Review: A neglected party

Review of David Dutton, Liberals in Schism – A History of the National Liberal Party (I. B. Tauris, 2008).

Review: How the Liberal Party fared 1939-45

Review of Andrew Thorpe, Parties at War: Political Organisation in Second World War Britain (Oxford University Press, 2009).

A Liberal without a Home: the Later Career of Leslie Hore-Belisha

British intellectual life, 1918-39

Review of Richard Overy, The Morbid Age: Britain Between the Wars (Allen Lane, 2009).

The flight from the Liberal Party

A retreat from the left?

Liberal thought

Review of Kevin Hickson (ed.), The Political Thought of the Liberals and Liberal Democrats since 1945 (Manchester University Press, 2009).

Survival and revival

Review of Mark Egan, Coming into Focus: The Transformation of the Liberal Party 1945-1964 (VDM Verlag Dr Muller, 2009).

Strange death?

Review of Ross McKibbin, Parties and People 1914-1951 (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Liberalism and the National Government, 1931-40

Coalition in the archives

The Liberal predicament, 1945-64

To hold the old flag

Sir Frank Medlicott (1903-72)