‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Anniversary of Liberal landslide's forgotten leader

Today is the anniversary of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman’s assumption of the premiership in 1905. CB, as he was popularly known, was the first person officially to be designated ‘prime minister’. 

Campbell-Bannerman became prime minister on 5 December 1905, when Balfour’s Conservative government resigned from office. CB led the Liberal Party to its greatest ever election victory with 400 seats in the 1906 election. He was the oldest person to become prime minister for the first time in the 20th century, at the age of 69.

Campbell-Bannerman presided over a hugely talented cabinet containing Asquith, Lloyd George, Grey and Haldane. CB is the only prime minister to have died at 10 Downing Street. He resigned the premiership on 3 April 1908 in very poor health, but was allowed to stay in the prime minister’s residence by his successor, Asquith. Campbell-Bannerman died at number 10 on 22 April 1908. 

Today CB is an almost forgotten figure. He would have rivalled Clement Attlee in the modesty stakes, but Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman deserve to be remembered.

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