The Home Secretaries (2): Churchill

RGS History

Siege_of_Sidney_Street_–_ChurchillWinston Churchill, 1910-11

Liberal (under Asquith)

After the general election of January 1910, Churchill (who had made a splash at the Board of Trade) was promoted to the Home Office. This was, of course, in the midst of the constitutional crisis, which saw the House of Lords reject Lloyd George’s People’s Budget and resulted in two general elections in 1910. In the end, the Parliament Act of 1911 saw the ascendancy of the Commons secured: Churchill, never one to eschew a scrap, played a leading role in that victory. He went to the Home Office with plans for reform, which were stymied by his brief tenure, though he did pilot a bill regulating the working hours of shop assistants.

As so often in his career, Churchill’s rhetorical bark was at odds with his political bite. He flirted with eugenics. He opposed a bill for women’s suffrage, and police used notably…

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