‘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, 13 February 2013

Anniversary of 1906 Parliament under Campbell-Banneman

Today is the anniversary of the start of the 1906 Parliament, under Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman’s premiership. CB, as he was popularly known, was the first person officially to be designated ‘prime minister’. 

Campbell-Bannerman had actually become prime minister on 5 December 1905, when Balfour’s Conservative government resigned from office. After the dissolution on 8 January 1906, CB led the Liberal Party to its greatest ever election victory with 400 seats. 
CB was the oldest person to become prime minister for the first time in the 20th century, at the age of 69 and 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 deserves to be remembered for his landslide election victory and for presiding over a hugely talented cabinet containing Asquith, Lloyd George, Grey and Haldane.

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