Sir Herbert Samuel proposes to leave the National Government

Sir Herbert Samuel writes to the King’s Secretary, suggesting the Liberals withdraw from the National Government to ‘offer an alternative both to Protectionist Conservatism and Socialism.’ The agreement presented to the cabinet following the conclusion of the Imperial Economic Conference in Ottawa in August came as a blow to free trade ministers and an anguished discussion began on whether to leave the government. The wider party had already expressed its criticism of the lack of the defence of free trade at a meeting of the National Liberal Federation in Clacton in April. Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald pleaded with Samuel to stay, ‘If you go I am no longer the head of a combination…I should be regarded as a limpet in office.’ Samuel and his Liberal colleagues plus Philip Snowden from National Labour finally announced their resignations when the cabinet met on 28th September.