Liberal Government 1905–15

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The Liberal government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland that began in 1905 and ended in 1915 consisted of two ministries: the Campbell-Bannerman Ministry, led by Henry Campbell-Bannerman, and then the First Asquith Ministry, led by H.H. Asquith.

Formation[edit]

With the fall of Arthur Balfour's Conservative government in the United Kingdom in December 1905, the Liberals under Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman were called in to form a government. In the subsequent election, the Liberals won an enormous majority. Campbell-Bannerman was succeeded by H. H. Asquith in 1908.

Policies[edit]

The Liberal government, supported by 29 Labour Party MPs, crafted the People's Budget, which introduced social legislation: such as old age pensions and unemployment insurance for a significant part of the working population. For many working people, for whom in old age the threat of the workhouse was very real, these represented a very significant change. Equally groundbreaking was the Parliament Act 1911 which:

  • Removed the law-making veto from the House of Lords thus rendering it constitutionally most expedient to run any future government from the House of Commons
  • Gave planned budgetary free rein to the House of Commons (all Money Bills) and
  • Helped to shape the later Salisbury Convention under which the House of Lords does not by convention oppose manifesto commitments

Fate[edit]

Although the government lost a great deal of support by the two general elections of 1910, they managed to hold on by dint of support from the Irish Nationalists. After early mismanagement during the First World War, particularly the failure of the Dardanelles Campaign, Asquith was forced to bring the Unionists into the government in a coalition.

Cabinets[edit]

Campbell-Bannerman's Cabinet[edit]

Changes[edit]

Asquith’s Cabinet[edit]

OFFICE NAME TERM
Prime Minister
First Lord of the Treasury
H. H. Asquith May 1908 – May 1915
Lord Chancellor The Lord Loreburn[1] April 1908 – June 1912
  The Viscount Haldane June 1912 – May 1915
Lord President of the Council The Lord Tweedmouth April–September 1908
  The Viscount Wolverhampton September 1908 – June 1910
  The Earl Beauchamp June–November 1910
  The Viscount Morley of Blackburn November 1910 – August 1914
  The Earl Beauchamp August 1914 – May 1915
Lord Privy Seal The Marquess of Ripon May–October 1908
  The Earl of Crewe[2] October 1908 – October 1911
  The Earl Carrington October 1911 – February 1912
  The Marquess of Crewe February 1912 – May 1915
Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George May 1908 – May 1915
Home Secretary Herbert Gladstone May 1908 – February 1910
  Winston Churchill February 1910 – October 1911
  Reginald McKenna October 1911 – May 1915
Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, Bt May 1908 – May 1915
Secretary of State for the Colonies The Earl of Crewe May 1908 – November 1910
  Lewis Harcourt November 1910 – May 1915
Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane[3] May 1908 – June 1912
  John Seely June 1912 – March 1914
  H.H. Asquith March–August 1914
  The Earl Kitchener August 1914 – May 1915
Secretary of State for India The Viscount Morley of Blackburn May 1908 – November 1910
  The Earl of Crewe November 1910 – May 1915
First Lord of the Admiralty Reginald McKenna May 1908 – October 1911
  Winston Churchill October 1911 – May 1915
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Viscount Wolverhampton May–September 1908
  The Lord FitzMaurice September 1908 – June 1909
  Herbert Samuel June 1909 – May 1910
  Joseph Pease May 1910 – October 1911
  Charles Hobhouse October 1911 – February 1914
  Charles Masterman February 1914 – January 1915
  Edwin Samuel Montagu January–May 1915
President of the Board of Trade Winston Churchill May 1908 – February 1910
  Sydney Buxton February 1910 – February 1914
  John Burns February–August 1914
  Walter Runciman August 1914 – May 1915
Secretary for Scotland John Sinclair[4] May 1908 – February 1912
  Thomas McKinnon Wood February 1912 – May 1915
Chief Secretary for Ireland Augustine Birrell May 1908 – May 1915
President of the Local Government Board John Burns May 1908 – February 1914
  Herbert Samuel February 1914 – May 1915`
President of the Board of Agriculture The Earl Carrington May 1908 – October 1911
  Walter Runciman October 1911 – August 1914
  The Lord Lucas August 1914 – May 1915
President of the Board of Education Walter Runciman May 1908 – October 1911
  Joseph Pease October 1911 – May 1915
Postmaster General Sydney Buxton May 1908 – February 1910
  Herbert Samuel February 1910 – February 1914
  Charles Hobhouse February 1914 – May 1915
First Commissioner of Works Lewis Harcourt May 1908 – November 1910
  The Earl Beauchamp November 1910 – August 1914
  The Lord Emmott August 1914 – May 1915
Attorney General Sir Rufus Isaacs[5] June 1912 – October 1913
  Sir John Simon October 1913 – May 1915


Changes[edit]

List of Ministers[edit]

Members of the Cabinet are in bold face.

Office Name Date Notes
Prime Minister,
First Lord of the Treasury
and Leader of the House of Commons
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman 5 December 1905  
H. H. Asquith 5 April 1908 – 25 May 1915  
Chancellor of the Exchequer H. H. Asquith 10 December 1905  
David Lloyd George 12 April 1908  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
and Government Chief Whip in the House of Commons
George Whiteley 12 December 1905  
Jack Pease 3 June 1908  
The Master of Elibank 14 February 1910  
Percy Illingworth 7 August 1912  
John Gulland 24 January 1915  
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Reginald McKenna 12 December 1905  
Walter Runciman 29 January 1907  
Charles Hobhouse 12 April 1908  
Thomas McKinnon Wood 23 October 1911  
Charles Masterman 13 February 1912  
Edwin Samuel Montagu 11 February 1914  
Francis Dyke Acland 3 February 1915  
Junior Lords of the Treasury Herbert Lewis 18 December 1905 – 7 July 1909  
Jack Pease 18 December 1905 – 3 June 1908  
Freeman Freeman-Thomas 21 December 1905 – 2 February 1906  
Cecil Norton 21 December 1905 – 7 July 1909  
John Fuller 2 February 1906 – 27 February 1907  
John Henry Whitley 27 February 1907 – 20 February 1910  
Oswald Partington 7 July 1909 – 19 January 1911  
John Gulland 7 July 1909 – 24 January 1915  
William Wedgwood Benn 20 February 1910 – 25 May 1915  
Ernest Soares 20 February 1910 – 16 April 1911  
Percy Illingworth 28 February 1910 – 7 August 1912  
William Jones 19 January 1911 – 25 May 1915  
Frederick Edward Guest 16 April 1911 – 21 February 1912  
Sir Arthur Haworth, Bt 23 February 1912 – 16 April 1912  
Henry Webb 16 April 1912 – 25 May 1915  
Cecil Beck 3 February 1915 – 25 May 1915  
Walter Rea 3 February 1915 – 25 May 1915  
Lord Chancellor The Lord Loreburn 10 December 1905 created Earl of Loreburn 4 July 1911
The Viscount Haldane 10 June 1912  
Lord President of the Council The Earl of Crewe 10 December 1905  
The Lord Tweedmouth 12 April 1908  
The Viscount Wolverhampton 13 October 1908  
The Earl Beauchamp 16 June 1910  
The Viscount Morley of Blackburn 3 November 1910  
The Earl Beauchamp 5 August 1914  
Lord Privy Seal The Marquess of Ripon 10 December 1905 also Leader of the House of Lords 10 December 1905 – 14 April 1908
The Earl of Crewe 9 October 1908 also Leader of the House of Lords; created Marquess of Crewe 3 July 1911
The Earl Carrington 23 October 1911  
The Marquess of Crewe 13 February 1912 also Leader of the House of Lords
Secretary of State for the Home Department Herbert Gladstone 10 December 1905  
Winston Churchill 14 February 1910  
Reginald McKenna 23 October 1911  
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department Herbert Samuel 12 December 1905  
Charles Masterman 7 July 1909  
Ellis Ellis-Griffith 19 February 1912  
Cecil Harmsworth 4 February 1915  
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Sir Edward Grey, Bt 10 December 1905  
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice 18 December 1905 created Baron Fitzmaurice 9 January 1906
Thomas McKinnon Wood 19 October 1908  
Francis Dyke Acland 23 October 1911  
Neil Primrose 4 February 1915  
Secretary of State for the Colonies The Earl of Elgin 10 December 1905  
The Earl of Crewe 12 April 1908 also Leader of the House of Lords
Lewis Harcourt 3 November 1910  
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies Winston Churchill 12 December 1905  
J. E. B. Seely 12 April 1908  
The Lord Lucas of Crudwell 23 March 1911  
The Lord Emmott 23 October 1911  
The Lord Islington 10 August 1915  
Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane 10 December 1905 created Viscount Haldane 27 March 1911
J. E. B. Seely 12 June 1912  
H. H. Asquith 30 March 1914 also Prime Minister
The Earl Kitchener 5 August 1914  
Under-Secretary of State for War The Earl of Portsmouth 12 December 1905  
The Lord Lucas of Crudwell 12 April 1908  
J. E. B. Seely 23 March 1911  
Harold Tennant 14 June 1912  
Financial Secretary to the War Office Thomas Buchanan 14 December 1905  
Francis Dyke Acland 12 April 1908  
Charles Mallet 4 March 1910  
Francis Dyke Acland 31 January 1911  
Harold Tennant 25 October 1911  
Harold Trevor Baker 14 June 1912  
Secretary of State for India John Morley 10 December 1905 created Viscount Morley of Blackburn 2 May 1908
The Earl of Crewe 3 November 1910 also Leader of the House of Lords
The Viscount Morley of Blackburn 7 March 1911  
The Earl of Crewe 25 May 1911 also Leader of the House of Lords; created Marquess of Crewe 3 July 1911
Under-Secretary of State for India John Edward Ellis 12 December 1905  
Charles Hobhouse 29 January 1907  
Thomas Buchanan 12 April 1908  
The Master of Elibank 5 June 1909  
Edwin Samuel Montagu 20 February 1910  
Charles Henry Roberts 17 February 1914  
First Lord of the Admiralty The Lord Tweedmouth 10 December 1905  
Reginald McKenna 12 April 1908  
Winston Churchill 23 October 1911  
Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty Edmund Robertson 12 December 1905  
Thomas James Macnamara 13 April 1908  
Civil Lord of the Admiralty George Lambert 18 December 1905  
President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries The Earl Carrington 10 December 1905  
Walter Runciman 23 October 1911  
The Lord Lucas of Crudwell 6 August 1914  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries Sir Edward Strachey, Bt 20 December 1909  
The Lord Lucas 23 October 1911  
Sir Harry Verney, Bt 10 August 1914  
President of the Board of Education Augustine Birrell 10 December 1905  
Reginald McKenna 23 January 1907  
Walter Runciman 12 April 1908  
Jack Pease 23 October 1911  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education Thomas Lough 18 December 1905  
Thomas McKinnon Wood 13 April 1908  
Sir Charles Trevelyan, Bt 19 October 1908  
Christopher Addison 10 August 1914  
Chief Secretary for Ireland James Bryce 10 December 1905  
Augustine Birrell 23 January 1907  
Vice President of the Department of Agriculture for Ireland Sir Horace Plunkett 12 December 1905  
Thomas Russell 21 May 1907  
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Sir Henry Fowler 10 December 1905 created Viscount Wolverhampton 4 May 1908
The Lord Fitzmaurice 13 October 1908  
Herbert Samuel 25 June 1909  
Jack Pease 14 February 1910  
Charles Hobhouse 23 October 1911  
Charles Masterman 11 February 1914  
Edwin Samuel Montagu 3 February 1915  
President of the Local Government Board John Burns 10 December 1905  
Herbert Samuel 11 February 1914  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board Walter Runciman 18 December 1905  
Thomas James Macnamara 29 January 1907  
Charles Masterman 12 April 1908  
Herbert Lewis 7 July 1909  
Paymaster-General Richard Causton 12 December 1905  
Ivor Guest 23 February 1910 created Lord Ashby St Ledgers 15 March 1910
The Lord Strachie 23 May 1912  
Postmaster-General Sydney Buxton 10 December 1905  
Herbert Samuel 14 February 1910  
Charles Hobhouse 11 February 1914  
Assistant Postmaster-General Sir Henry Norman 3 January 1910  
Cecil Norton 20 February 1910  
Secretary for Scotland John Sinclair 12 April 1908 created Lord Pentland 15 February 1909
Thomas McKinnon Wood 13 February 1912  
President of the Board of Trade David Lloyd George 10 December 1905  
Winston Churchill 12 April 1908  
Sydney Buxton 14 February 1910  
John Burns 11 February 1914  
Walter Runciman 5 August 1914  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade Hudson Kearley 18 December 1905 created a Baronet 22 July 1908
Harold Tennant 10 January 1909  
J. M. Robertson 25 October 1911  
First Commissioner of Works Lewis Harcourt 10 December 1905 entered cabinet 27 March 1907
The Earl Beauchamp 3 November 1910  
The Lord Emmott 6 August 1914  
Attorney General Sir John Lawson Walton 12 December 1905  
Sir William Robson 28 January 1908  
Sir Rufus Isaacs 7 October 1910 entered cabinet 4 June 1912
Sir John Simon 19 October 1913  
Solicitor General Sir William Robson 12 December 1905  
Sir Samuel Thomas Evans 28 January 1908  
Sir Rufus Isaacs 6 March 1910  
Sir John Simon 7 October 1910  
Sir Stanley Buckmaster 19 October 1913  
Lord Advocate Thomas Shaw 12 December 1905  
Alexander Ure 14 February 1909  
Robert Munro 30 October 1913  
Solicitor General for Scotland Alexander Ure 18 December 1905  
Arthur Dewar 18 February 1909  
William Hunter 18 April 1910  
Andrew Anderson 3 December 1911  
Thomas Brash Morison 30 October 1913  
Attorney General for Ireland Richard Robert Cherry 20 December 1905  
Redmond John Barry 2 December 1909  
Charles Andrew O'Connor 26 September 1911  
Ignatius O'Brien 24 June 1912  
Thomas Molony 10 April 1913  
John Francis Moriarty 20 June 1913  
Jonathan Pim 1 July 1914  
Solicitor General for Ireland Redmond John Barry 20 December 1905  
Charles Andrew O'Connor 2 December 1909  
Ignatius O'Brien 19 October 1911  
Thomas Molony 24 June 1912  
John Francis Moriarty 25 April 1913  
Jonathan Pim 20 June 1913  
James O'Connor 1 July 1914  
Lord Steward of the Household The Lord Hawkesbury 18 December 1905 created Earl of Liverpool 22 December 1905
The Earl Beauchamp 31 July 1907  
The Earl of Chesterfield 22 June 1910  
Lord Chamberlain of the Household The Viscount Althorp 18 December 1905 succeeded as 6th Earl Spencer 13 August 1910
The Lord Sandhurst 14 February 1912  
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Wentworth Beaumont 18 December 1905 succeeded as 2nd Lord Allendale 13 February 1907
John Fuller 27 February 1907 created a Baronet 7 July 1910
Geoffrey Howard 6 February 1911  
Master of the Horse The Earl of Sefton 18 December 1905  
The Earl of Granard 6 September 1907  
Treasurer of the Household Sir Edward Strachey, Bt 18 December 1905  
William Dudley Ward 20 December 1909  
Frederick Edward Guest 21 February 1912  
Comptroller of the Household The Master of Elibank 18 December 1905  
The Earl of Liverpool (2nd) 12 July 1909  
The Lord Saye and Sele 1 November 1912  
Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords The Lord Ribblesdale 18 December 1905  
The Lord Denman 29 May 1907  
The Lord Colebrooke 15 March 1911  
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms The Earl Beauchamp 18 December 1905  
The Lord Denman 31 July 1907  
The Lord Colebrooke 26 June 1911  
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard The Duke of Manchester 18 December 1905  
The Lord Allendale 29 April 1907  
The Earl of Craven 2 October 1911  
Lords in Waiting The Lord Denman 18 December 1905 – 31 July 1907  
The Earl of Granard 18 December 1905 – 21 August 1907  
The Lord Acton 18 December 1905 – 25 May 1915  
The Earl Granville 18 December 1905 – 25 May 1915  
The Lord Hamilton of Dalzell 18 December 1905 – 2 October 1911  
The Lord Colebrooke 21 February 1906 – 26 June 1911  
The Lord Herschell 31 July 1907 – 25 May 1915  
The Lord O'Hagan 1 November 1907 – 15 April 1910  
The Lord Tweedmouth 15 April 1910 – 4 December 1911  
The Lord Willingdon 19 July 1911 – 31 January 1913  
The Viscount Allendale 2 October 1911 – 25 May 1915  
The Lord Ashby St Ledgers 31 January 1913 – 8 February 1915 succeeded as 2nd Lord Wimborne 22 February 1914
The Lord Stanmore 1 May 1914 – 25 May 1915  
The Lord Ranksborough 8 February 1915 – 25 May 1915  

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Earl Loreburn from 1911.
  2. ^ Marquess of Crewe from 1911
  3. ^ Viscount Haldane from 1911
  4. ^ Lord Pentland from 1909
  5. ^ Lord Reading from 1913.

Source: Butler, David and Gareth Butler. Twentieth Century British Political Facts, 1900–2000. (St. Martin's, 2000)

Preceded by
Balfour Ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1905–1915
Succeeded by
Second Asquith Ministry