Lloyd George and PMQs – Lib Dems defend their history knowledge

by Stephen Tall on July 21, 2010

There’s been discussion this morning – sparked by a tweet from Labour blogger Hopi Sen – about whether Lloyd George was indeed the last Liberal to face Prime Minister’s Questions.

Hopi questioned the Lib Dem claim that Nick Clegg, when he stands in for David Cameron today, will be the first Liberal leader since 1922 to lead PMQs – he commented:

Asquith last Liberal _leader_ to take Qs. Also PMQ’s began in ’61 so no-one did em in 22.

The Lib Dem press office have been quick to refute Hopi’s suggestion that the party is ignorant of its own history, issuing the following statement:

The modern type of Prime minister’s Questions only dates from 1961. Lloyd George was the most recent Prime Minister to be a Liberal at that time (Churchill having joined the Conservatives before being PM).

The Coalition fell in October 1922 but the house rose in August.On 4 August questions that had been addressed to the Prime Minister were answered by Neville Chamberlain. (Presumably Lloyd George was absent). On 3 August he answered the questions himself.

Here is a link to the sitting of 3 August. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/sittings/1922/aug/03

He made a statement on air defence, continued with questions on the royal commission on the distribution of honours. The final questions were the following exchange on the League of Nations:

§ The PRIME MINISTER
The names of the representatives of the British Government at the meeting of the League of Nations at Geneva are my Noble Friend the Lord President of the Council, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Education, and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Stoke-upon-Trent (Lieut.-Colonel J. Ward).
§ Lord R. CECIL
Can the right hon. Gentleman reply to the last part of my question, as to whether he himself will be able to attend at any part of the proceedings? Does he realise that it will be quite possible for him to go only for two or three days, and to deliver a speech on disarmament or some other question of great international importance.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
There I am leaving myself in the hands of the representatives of the Government. The same suggestion was put to me by them, and I am leaving myself in their hands and shall wait their further suggestion.
§ Mr. GRITTEN
Is it not more necessary for the right hon. Gentleman to remain in this distressful country?
§ Viscountess ASTOR
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether a woman will be sent in an advisory capacity?
§ The PRIME MINISTER

Honour satisfied?