|Founded||5 May 1926|
|Political alignment||Opposition to the General Strike|
|Ceased publication||13 May 1926|
|Circulation||200,000 to 2 million|
One of the first groups of workers called out by the Trades Union Congress when the general strike began on 3 May were the printers, and consequently most newspapers appeared only in very brief and truncated form. The Government therefore decided to replace them with an official publication which was printed on the presses of The Morning Post, a right-wing but traditionalist paper which later merged with The Daily Telegraph. Winston Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer but formerly a journalist, took the initiative and guided the British Gazette's editorial line with the paper largely produced by the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies.
The Gazette first appeared on the morning of 5 May. It was highly patriotic and condemnatory of the strikers, becoming a very effective means of propaganda for the government. The TUC produced its own paper, the British Worker (subtitled Official Strike News Edition) to attempt to counter it. The Gazette easily outsold its rival, with circulation rising from more than 200,000 copies for the first issue to more than 2,000,000. From issue 4, the masthead contained the invitation "Please pass on this copy or display it". The Gazette ran to only eight editions before the strike collapsed; the last edition had the headline "General Strike Off".
Churchill enjoyed his time on the Gazette but did not take it entirely seriously. On 7 July 1926, at the end of a debate in Parliament on whether to grant the money to pay for the British Gazette, Churchill responded to Labour MP A. A. Purcell's speculation about what would happen in future general strikes with the words "Make your minds perfectly clear that if ever you let loose upon us again a general strike, we will loose upon you (pause) another British Gazette!" The statement drew laughter and applause from both sides and defused some of the lingering political tension in the debate.
- British Gazette, 13 May 1926, p. 1.
- Hansard HC user vol 197 col 2218.
- Roy Jenkins, "Churchill", Pan Macmillan, 2002, p 409.
- Almost complete (lacking no.8) digitised copies of the British Gazette, from the collection of the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick