Mid Wales

New book on David Lloyd George, outsider who became PM

David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George was prime minister during World War I

The career of David Lloyd George, the Welsh "outsider" who became prime minister, is analysed in a new book.

David Lloyd George, known as the Welsh wizard, became premier during World War I and played a major role in shaping Europe after 1918.

Author John Graham Jones has drawn on archives at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, where he is head of the Welsh political archive.

Lloyd George and Welsh Liberalism is launched at the library on 26 June.

The author said: "I've been interested in him ever since I was a student. I studied Welsh history here in Aberystywyth.

"He's such a fascinating, compelling individual - wholly unique. His career was totally remarkable.

"He's the outsider who never went to public school or university and still made it to the top."

There are also topical parallels with the current UK coalition government.

Peace negotiations

"The last time there was a Liberal coalition was when he was prime minister," he said.

"Whether he would have gone into coalition like Nick Clegg I don't know, because he [Lloyd George] was prime minister in that coalition with the Conservatives."

A Welsh speaker, he was born in Manchester, but MP for Carnarvon Boroughs for more than 50 years, and was prime minister from 1916 to 1922.

He is seen as playing a key role in Britain's victory in WWI and in the subsequent peace negotiations.

He had earlier been chancellor of the exchequer and helped to introduce old age pensions, unemployment benefit and state financial support for the sick.

In summer 1922, Lloyd George was involved in a scandal involving the selling of knighthoods and peerages.

Later that year, the Conservatives withdrew from the coalition over their opposition to Britain's foreign policy in Turkey, and Lloyd George resigned as prime minister.

Lloyd George also had a colourful private life, and he had many lovers during his marriage of more than 50 years, including a long-term mistress who he married after his wife Margaret's death.

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