Lloyd George: My Part in His Downfall

John Rentoul

photo 2 e1366800230669 225x300 Lloyd George: My Part in His DownfallThe 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs held its 90th anniversary celebration last night. The committee was founded, as any pedant knows, in 1923. I was grateful to Graham Brady, the chairman, for inviting me. Gervais Rentoul, MP for Lowestoft and the founding chairman of the Committee, was my second cousin twice removed (his great-grandfather, the Revd James Rentoul of Ray, Co Donegal, was my great-great-great-grandfather).

It was a pleasure to meet Philip Norton, who has written a history of the Committee (pictured), from which I was dismayed to discover that Gervais, having served as chairman for nine years, was turfed out 1932 when he overreached himself with a plan for deeper spending cuts than those contemplated by the National Government, and indeed than most Conservative MPs were prepared to support.

When some Members proposed that the report should not be circulated or published (copies had already been sent to MPs and the press), Rentoul allowed the motion to be discussed, but when the discussion on it proved critical he ruled it out of order. Some Members wrote to The Times to dissociate themselves from the report, noting that it had not been endorsed by the full Committee. The report’s recommendations had no impact on policy, but its circulation harmed both the 1922 – undermining its credibility in the eyes of MPs – and its Chairman. Rentoul was challenged for the chairmanship and in December he was voted out of office.

A great family triumph. Proposing cuts in the depths of a recession that were too far and too fast even for the majority of Conservative MPs.

The Prime Minister had a better time of it. In his short speech he noted that the 1922 Committee was founded when a Conservative coalition with the Liberals (he called them Liberal Democrats) came to an end and was replaced by a majority Conservative government.

Hearty cheers.

Update: You too can obtain a copy of Lord Norton’s excellent short book for just £7.99 including P&P. Write to info[at] (£7.99 incl. P&P).

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  • Hill244

    Lawdy Massah mus’ be awful upset that those Upiity Taigs in Donegal went and got themselves freed. Sho nuff looking forward to G8 and seeing PSNI/RUC come to grief!

  • Pacificweather

    It must be comforting to know that you are descended from a long line of people who lack political judgement so you can say, “It ain’t my fault it’s in me genes!”

  • Pacificweather

    It is also comforting to note that Conservatives are proud of the fact that they have learnt nothing from history like a bunch of multiple divorcees in an AA meeting.

  • John Rentoul

    Different family line. They went over to the dark side. My side were Protestant Irish nationalists and you don’t get many of them.

  • therealguyfaux

    Somehow, “Lloyd George knew my distant cousin, and my distant cousin knew Lloyd George” doesn’t have the same ring to it…

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