Law, Bonar

Andrew Bonar Law

b. 16 Sep 1858, Kingston, near Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada
d. 30 Oct 1923, London, England [1]

Title: Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury
Term: 23 Oct 1922 - 20 May 1923
Chronology: 23 Oct 1922, invited to form an Administration and accepted the offer to hold the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, audience of the King, Buckingham Palace, London [2]
25 Oct 1922, took the oath of office as First Lord of the Treasury before the King in Council, Buckingham Palace, London [3]
20 May 1923, tendered resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury in a letter to the King written on 20 May 1923 and delivered to the King at the Royal Pavilion, Aldershot Camp, on 20 May 1923 (accepted) [4]
Biography:

Born in the family of a Presbyterian minister of Scottish background; received education at a schoolhouse in Kingston, New Brunswick, before leaving Canada to join his late mother's family in Glasgow; attended Gilbertfield School, Hamilton (1870-1873), and Glasgow High School (1873-1875); left school to join a merchant bank owned by his family (1875); attended some courses at the University of Glasgow; in 1885 bought a partnership into William Jacks & Co., iron merchants; was elected to Parliament as Unionist/Conservative MP for Blackfriars Glasgow (1900-1906), and later represented Dulwich, Camberwell (1906-1910), Bootle, Lancashire (1911-1918), and Glasgow Central (1918-1923); was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (1902-1905); emerged as an important figure in the Conservative and Unionist Party; sworn in as a member of the UK Privy Council (5 Jul 1911); after the resignation of Arthur James Balfour, he was elected Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party in the House of Commons (13 Nov 1911 - 21 Mar 1921); supported the Government of H.H. Asquith in the national war effort but in May 1915 insisted that Asquith should establish a Coalition government, in which he assumed the office of Secretary of State for the Colonies (27 May 1915 - 11 Dec 1916); sided with David Lloyd-George to obtain the resignation of Asquith, but himself failed to form an alternative government; served as Chancellor of the Exchequer (11 Dec 1916 - 14 Jan 1919) and Lord Privy Seal (10 Feb 1919 - 24 Mar 1921) under Lloyd-George, supporting him at the 1918 General Election; resigned as Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party in the House of Commons (21 Mar 1921) owing to ill-health and recuperated in the South of France; during the absences of Lloyd-George related to negotiating the Treaty of Versailles, he acted as deputy Prime Minister but agreed to withdraw his party's support of Lloyd-George as criticism of him grew within the Unionist party; when Lloyd George resigned (19 Oct 1922), he was elected Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party (23 Oct 1922 - 28 May 1923) and appointed Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (23 Oct 1922 - 20 May 1923); enjoyed a comfortable majority of voters in the General Election of 15 Nov 1922 (Unionist/Conservative 344, Labour 138, Liberal 60, National Liberals 57, others 16); was opposed to the arrangements for repaying the U.S. war debts negotiated by Chancellor of the Exchequer Stanley Baldwin but under pressure agreed not to resign on the issue; due to a terminal illness, he was forced to resign (20 May 1923) and died shortly afterwards. Biography source: [5]


[1] The Times, No. 43,486, Royal Edition, London, Wednesday, October 31, 1923, p. 15.
[2] The Times, No. 43,170, Royal Edition, London, Tuesday, October 24, 1922, p. 15: "Court Circular. BUCKINGHAM PALACE, Oct. 23. <...> The Right Hon. A. Bonar Law, M.P., was received in audience by The King this evening, and on His Majesty's invitation undertook to form an administration, and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury."
[3] The Times, No. 43,172, Royal Edition, London, Thursday, October 26, 1922, p. 15: "Court Circular. BUCKINGHAM PALACE, Oct. 25. The King held a Council this morning at 11.15 o'clock. <...> The Right Hon. A. Bonar Law was sworn First Lord of the Treasury."; Supplement to The London Gazette of Tuesday, the 24th of October, 1922, No. 32759, p. 7527.
[4] The Times, No. 43,346, Royal Edition, London, Monday, May 21, 1923, p. 11: "Court Circular. ROYAL PAVILION, ALDERSHOT CAMP <...> May 20. <...> The King has received a letter from the Right Hon. A. Bonar Law, M.P., in which, on the urgent recommendation of his medical advisers, he tenders to His Majesty his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury. The King has received the Right Hon. A. Bonar Law's communication with the deepest regret and has graciously accepted his resignation."
[5] "The Unknown Prime Minister: The Life and Times of Andrew Bonar Law, 1858-1923", by Robert Blake (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1955).
Image: photograph, 1919.
Last updated on: 26 Jun 2009 04:21:26