Bonar Law

Knowledge Identifier: +Bonar_Law


Bonar Law

British Conservative Party statesman and Prime Minister add

Category: Politics

Born in 1858.

Countries: United Kingdom (78%), UK (4%), (4%)

Education: undef.

Main connections: Stanley Baldwin, Arthur Balfour, House of Lords

Linked to: Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Leader of the Conservative Party, Leaders of the Conservative Party




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Bonar Law was born in 1858 add something


A few years after his mother's death in 1861, his father remarried, and in 1870 Law moved to Helensburgh, Scotland, to live with his mother's sister Janet and her family, who ran a successful merchant bank add something


Such tariffs had previously existed in Britain, but had been abolished in the 1870s because of the free trade movement add something


In 1873 when he was fourteen he transferred to the High School of Glasgow, where with his excellent memory he showed a talent for languages, excelling in Greek, German and French add something


In 1885 the Kidson brothers decided to retire, and agreed to merge the firm with the Clydesdale Bank add something


Walter Cunliffe, 1st Baron Cunliffe - Cunliffe became a director of the Bank of England in 1895, becoming Governor in 1913 and working under Chancellors of the Exchequer David Lloyd George and Andrew Bonar Law


In 1897 Law was asked to become the Conservative Party candidate for the parliamentary seat of Glasgow Bridgeton add something


Law first entered politics in 1897, when he was asked to be the Conservative candidate for the seats of Glasgow Bridgeton and Glasgow Blackfriars and Hutchesontown, accepting Blackfriars add something


Despite a large Liberal Party majority in his seat, Law campaigned successfully for the 1900 general election and was returned to Parliament add something


Second Boer War - Although the election was not due until 1902, the events of the Second Boer War forced the Conservative government to call a general election in 1900, later known as the khaki election add something


A strong supporter of tariff reform, Law was made Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade in 1902 add something


Law took advantage of this, making his first major speech on 22 April 1902, in which he argued that while he felt a general tariff was unnecessary, an imperial customs union was a good idea, particularly since other nations such as Germany and the United States had increasingly high tariffs add something


After returning from a speaking tour of South Africa in 1903, Chamberlain found that the new Chancellor of the Exchequer had removed the tariff reforms suggested by Hicks Beach from the budget add something


Despite Law's efforts to forge consensus within the Conservatives, Balfour was unable to hold the two sides of his party together, and resigned in December 1905 add something


Balfour had been becoming increasingly unpopular as Leader of the Conservative Party since the 1906 general election; tariff reformers saw his leadership as the reason for their electoral losses, and the "free fooders" had been alienated by Balfour's attempts to tame the zeal of the tariff reform faction add something


The party was struck a blow in July 1906, when two days after a celebration of his seventieth birthday, Joseph Chamberlain suffered a stroke and was forced to retire from politics add something


Campbell-Bannerman resigned as Prime Minister in April 1908 and was replaced by Herbert Henry Asquith add something


In 1909 he and his Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George introduced the People's Budget, a budget which through tax changes and tariffs sought to redistribute wealth and fund social reform programmes add something


In opposition Law continued to argue for tariff reform, both in Parliament and within his party, largely avoiding the constitutional crisis surrounding the People's Budget in 1909 add something


It is known that she was much liked in both Glasgow and London , and that her death in 1909 hit Law hard; despite his relatively young age and prosperous career, he never remarried add something


The January and December elections in 1910 destroyed the large Liberal majority, meaning they relied on the Irish Nationalists to maintain a government add something


The Liberals called a general election in January 1910, and Law spent most of the preceding months campaigning up and down the country for other Conservative candidates and MPs, sure that his Dulwich seat was safe, and when the results came in he held an increased majority of 2,418 add something


With the failure to establish a political consensus after the January 1910 general election, the Liberals called a second general election in December add something


The death of Edward VII on 6 May 1910 prompted the leaders of the major political parties to secretly meet in a "Truce of God" to discuss the Lords add something


Law personally felt that duties on foodstuffs should be excluded, something agreed to by Alexander Acland-Hood, Edward Carson and others at a meeting of the Constitutional Club on 8 November 1910, but they failed to reach a consensus and the idea of including or excluding food duties continued to be something that divided the party add something


Balfour refused all suggestions of party reorganisation until a meeting of senior Conservatives led by Lord Salisbury after the December 1910 electoral defeat issued an ultimatum demanding a review of party structure add something


Arthur Balfour - After the Unionists had failed to win an electoral mandate at either of the General Elections of 1910 , the Unionist peers split to allow the Parliament Act to pass the House of Lords, in order to prevent a mass-creation of new Liberal peers by the new King, George V. The exhausted Balfour resigned as party leader after the crisis, and was succeeded in late 1911 by Andrew Bonar Law


By 12 March he had established that, should the Home Rule Bill be passed under the Parliament Act 1911, the Army Annual Act should be amended in the Lords to stipulate that the Army could not "be used in Ulster to prevent or interfere with any step which may thereafter be taken in Ulster to organise resistance to the enforcement of the Home Rule Act in Ulster nor to suppress any such resistance until and unless the present Parliament has been dissolved and a period of three months shall have lapsed after the meeting of a new Parliament" add something


Despite this he said little about Home Rule until the passing of the Parliament Act in 1911, calling it the "Home Rule In Disguise Act" and saying it was an attempt to change parliamentary demographics so as to allow Home Rule "through the back door" add something


In his brief absence the Liberal suggestions for the reform of the House of Lords were passed as the Parliament Act 1911, ending that particular dispute add something


The third complaint was that the Liberals had still not fulfilled their obligations under the Parliament Act 1911, the preamble of which said that the purpose was "to substitute for the House of Lords as it present exists a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of a hereditary basis" add something


On the coronation of George V on 22 June 1911, Bonar Law was made a Privy Counsellor on the recommendation of the new Prime Minister and Arthur Balfour add something


Leo Maxse began a Balfour Must Go campaign in his paper the "National Review", and by July 1911 Balfour was contemplating resignation add something


By November 1911 it was accepted that Balfour was likely to resign, with the main competitors being Law, Carson, Walter Long and Austen Chamberlain add something


He had a much longer tenure as Conservative Party leader, November 1911 to March 1921 and October 1922 to May 1923, where he used his business background to good advantage in promoting better organisation and efficiency add something


Bootle (UK Parliament constituency) - The constituency was originally a Conservative seat, being represented by Conservative Party Leader Andrew Bonar Law from 1911 until 1918 when ordinary citizens other than freeholders became entitled to the vote


Liberal Unionist Party - This encouraged a movement to merge the two parties formally at the constituency and national organizational levels, a process speeded up by the election in 1911 of Andrew Bonar Law as the new Conservative Party leader


Law held off on withdrawing the "Referendum Pledge" of a tariff reform referendum into 1912 because of the visit of Robert Borden, the newly elected Conservative Prime Minister of Canada, to London planned for July add something


Lord Selborne had written to Law in 1912 to point out that vetoing or significantly amending the Act in the House of Lords would force the government to resign, and such a course of action was suggested by others during 1913 and 1914 add something


The 1912 session of Parliament opened on 14 February with a stated intent by the Liberal Party in the King's Speech to introduce a new Home Rule Bill add something


The argument of Law and the Unionists between 1912 and 1914 was based on three complaints add something


The end of 1912 saw the end of a year of political struggle for Law. As well as the problem of Home Rule, there were internal party struggles; supporters of the Church of England or military reform lambasted Law for not paying attention to their causes, and tariff reformers argued with him over his previous compromise on food duties add something


Law did not particularly enjoy his tougher manner, and at the State Opening of Parliament in February 1912 apologised directly to Asquith for his coming speech, saying "I am afraid I shall have to show myself very vicious, Mr Asquith, this session add something


On 12 February 1912 he finally unified the two branches of the party into the awkwardly named National Unionist Association of Conservative and Liberal-Unionist Organisations add something


On 29 February 1912 the entire Conservative parliamentary body met at Lansdowne House, with Lord Lansdowne chairing add something


In July 1912 Asquith travelled to Dublin to make a speech, ridiculing Unionist demands for a referendum on the issue via an election and calling their campaign "purely destructive in its objects, anarchic and chaotic in its methods" add something


The conference was opened on 14 November 1912 by Lord Farquhar, who immediately introduced Lord Lansdowne add something


Edward Carson tabled another amendment on 1 January 1913 which would exclude all nine Ulster counties, more to test government resolve than anything else add something


By Christmas 1914 they were anxious about the war; it was not, in their opinion, going well, and yet they were restricted to serving on committees and making recruitment speeches add something


With the failure of these talks, Law accepted that a compromise was unlikely, and from January 1914 onwards returned to the position that the Unionists were "opposed utterly to Home Rule" add something


First World War - On 30 July 1914, following the outbreak of the First World War, Law met with Asquith and agreed to temporarily suspend the issue of Home Rule to avoid domestic discontent during wartime add something


Law entered the coalition government as Colonial Secretary in 1915, his first senior Cabinet post, and, following the resignation of Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Asquith, was invited by King George V to form a government, but he deferred to Lloyd George, Secretary of State for War and former Minister of Munitions, who he believed was better placed to lead a coalition ministry add something


The crisis which led to a coalition government forming was twofold; first the Shell Crisis of 1915, and the resignation of Lord Fisher, the First Sea Lord add something


Over the coming months, the Liberal, Labour and Conservative whips worked out a truce suspending confrontational politics until either 1 January 1915 or until the end of the War. On 4 August both Asquith and Law made speeches together at the Middlesex Guildhall, and uncomfortably socialised with each other's parties add something


The Shell Crisis arose because of the failure to fully organise British industry into a state of total war, and the matter was raised in Parliament on 21 April 1915 add something


Stanley Baldwin - During the First World War he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the party leader Andrew Bonar Law and in 1917 he was appointed to the junior ministerial post of Financial Secretary to the Treasury where he sought to encourage voluntary donations by the rich to repay the United Kingdom's war debt, writing to "The Times" under the pseudonym 'FST', much of which were published


In the 1918 General Election, Law returned to Glasgow and was elected as member for Glasgow Central add something


Albert Stanley, 1st Baron Ashfield - Writing to Leader of the House of Commons and future Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law in January 1919, Lloyd George described Stanley as having "all the glibness of Runciman and that is apt to take in innocent persons like you and me


James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury - He returned to the government in the 1920s and served under Andrew Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1922 to 1923, as Lord President of the Council from 1922 to 1924, as Lord Privy Seal from 1924 to 1929 and as Leader of the House of Lords from 1925 to 1929


A sharp slump in 1921 and a wave of strikes in the coal and railway industries added to the government's unpopularity, as did the apparent failure of the Genoa Conference, which ended in an apparent rapprochement between Germany and Soviet Russia add something


In 1921, ill health forced his resignation as Conservative leader and Leader of the Commons in favour of Austen Chamberlain add something


From on all were referred to as "Unionists" until the ratification of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1922, after which they became Conservatives again add something


"For a full list of Ministerial office holders, see Conservative Government 1922-1924" add something


Austen Chamberlain resigned as Party Leader, Lloyd George resigned as Prime Minister and Bonar Law returned on 23 October 1922 in both jobs add something


Albert Buckley - He held office under Andrew Bonar Law as a Junior Lord of the Treasury from 1922 to 1923 and under Bonar Law and later Stanley Baldwin as Secretary for Overseas Trade from March to November 1923


Conservative Party (UK) - In 1922, Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin led the break-up of the coalition and the Conservatives governed until 1923, when a minority Labour government led by Ramsay MacDonald came to power


Stanley Baldwin - In 1922, Baldwin was one of the prime movers in the withdrawal of Conservative support from Lloyd George and became Chancellor of the Exchequer in Bonar Law's Conservative ministry


Ronald Munro Ferguson, 1st Viscount Novar - In 1922, he was appointed Secretary for Scotland in Andrew Bonar Law's Conservative government, holding the post until 1924, the last year under the premiership of Stanley Baldwin


Savile Crossley, 1st Baron Somerleyton - The coalition fell in 1922, but Somerleyton remained as a whip in the Conservative administrations of Andrew Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin


Sir Laming Worthington-Evans, 1st Baronet - As with many Cabinet Ministers in the Lloyd George Coalition, Worthington-Evans declined office in Andrew Bonar Law's new government when Lloyd George fell in October 1922


Arthur Fell - The following summer, the Channel Tunnel Company's AGM was told that in December 1922 the new Prime Minister Bonar Law had responded to a question from Viscount Curzon by saying "no decision has yet been taken, and I am not at present prepared to consider this question"

Bonar Law died in 1923 add something


Bonar Law was soon diagnosed with terminal throat cancer and, no longer physically able to speak in Parliament, resigned on 22 May 1923 add something


Eustace Percy, 1st Baron Percy of Newcastle - In March 1923 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education by Andrew Bonar Law


Stanley Baldwin - In May 1923 Bonar Law was diagnosed with terminal cancer and retired immediately


George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston - On Andrew Bonar Law's retirement as Prime Minister in May 1923, Curzon was passed over for the job in favour of Stanley Baldwin, despite having written Bonar Law a lengthy letter earlier in the year complaining of rumours that he was to retire in Baldwin's favour, and listing the reasons why he should have the top job


Isabel, the eldest daughter, married Sir Frederick Sykes and Catherine, the youngest, married, firstly, Kent Colwell and, much later, in 1961, The 1st Baron Archibald, the Labour grandee add something


University of Glasgow - In the past, this position has been a largely honorary and ceremonial one, and has been held by political figures including William Gladstone, Benjamin Disraeli, Andrew Bonar Law, Robert Peel, Raymond Poincaré, Arthur Balfour, and 1970s union activist Jimmy Reid, and latterly by celebrities such as TV presenters Arthur Montford and Johnny Ball, musician Pat Kane, and actors Richard Wilson, Ross Kemp and Greg Hemphill


Richard Law, 1st Baron Coleraine - He died on 15 November 1980, age 79, and was succeeded in the barony by his son James Martin Bonar Law, 2nd Baron Coleraine