Rhys Hopkin Morris

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Hopkin Morris

Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris (5 September 1888 – 22 November 1956) was a Welsh Liberal politician who was a Member of Parliament from 1923–1932 and from 1945–1956.

Early life[edit]

Hopkin Morris was born at Bleancaerau, Maesteg, Glamorgan, son of John Morris, Congregational minister in Caerau, and Mary.[1] He was educated at University of North Wales Bangor and qualified as a barrister, being called to the Bar in 1920.

Political career[edit]

A classic laissez-faire liberal, Hopkin Morris supported Herbert Henry Asquith against David Lloyd George when the party split between 1916 and 1923, and would remain fiercely opposed to Lloyd George and interventionist Liberalism throughout his political career.

In 1922 Hopkin Morris contested the general election as a pro Asquith Liberal in Cardiganshire, narrowly losing to the sitting pro-Lloyd George Liberal MP Ernest Evans. The following year the Liberal Party reunited but Hopkin Morris ran as an Independent Liberal against Evans. In one of the most surprising results of the 1923 general election Hopkin Morris was elected. In the follow year's general election he was returned unopposed as an official Liberal candidate.

His opposition to both Lloyd George and the introduction of tariffs resulted in his remaining with the official ("Samuelite") Liberals when the party split three ways in advance of the 1931 general election. The following year Hopkin Morris was appointed as a Metropolitan Police magistrate, a salaried post which vacated his seat because the post was an 'office of profit under the Crown' and incompatible with membership of the House of Commons. In 1936, he became the first Regional Director of the BBC in Wales.[2] The same year Hopkin Morris became President of the London Welsh Trust, which runs the London Welsh Centre, holding office until 1937.[3]

Thirteen years later Hopkin Morris returned to Parliament in a once more sensational result. In the 1945 general election he won Carmarthen, taking the seat from the Labour Party's Moelwyn Hughes despite the rest of the country experiencing a Labour landslide. Hopkin Morris was to hold the seat for the remainder of his life.

In 1951 he became Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means in the House of Commons and thus one of the Deputy Speakers. This post, together with his age, combined to exclude him for consideration for the Liberal Party leadership when Clement Davies stood down in October 1956. Hopkin Morris died the following month.

Throughout his career Hopkin Morris was a staunch individualist, once summing up his political philosophy as, "There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him!" Many have regarded him as being the last representative of traditional Gladstonian Liberalism in the Commons.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ National Library of Wales, Welsh Biography Online
  2. ^ "Archives Network Wales - Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris papers". Archivesnetworkwales.info. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  3. ^ "Our Former Presidents: London Welsh Centre". London Welsh Centre website. London Welsh Centre. 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2011. 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Rhys Hopkin Morris, The man and his character: T J Evans (introduction by Herbert Samuel), Gomerian Press, Llandyssul, 1958

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ernest Evans
Member of Parliament for Cardiganshire
19231932
Succeeded by
Owen Evans
Preceded by
Moelwyn Hughes
Member of Parliament for Carmarthen
19451956
Succeeded by
Megan Lloyd George