After establishing a lucrative legal career, he was elected Liberal MP for East Fife in 1886. Appointed Home Secretary at 39, he was one of the few successes of the Liberal governments of 1892-5. When the Liberals returned to power, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer before succeeding Henry Campbell-Bannerman as Prime Minister and leading one of the great reforming governments of the 20th century. He took the country to war in 1914 a decision that was to have disastrous consequences for the Liberal Party and cost Asquith his job and his seat in parliament, although he did return to the House of Commons as MP for Paisley from 1920 to 1924. After the war Asquith clung limpet like to the leadership of the Liberal Party until a stroke forced his retirement from active politics in 1926. In 1925 he went to the Lords as 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith.