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Reginald McKenna

From Academic Kids

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Cover of Time Magazine (March 3, 1924)

Reginald McKenna (1863-1943) was a Liberal British statesman. He served in the Liberal governments of Henry Campbell-Bannerman and Herbert Henry Asquith as President of the Board of Education, First Lord of the Admiralty and Home Secretary. As Chancellor of the Exchequer in Asquith's coalition government, he opposed the introduction of conscription, and retired into opposition upon the fall of Asquith at the end of 1916. He lost his seat in the 1918 general election and became Chairman of the Midland Bank. In 1922, the new Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law hoped to persuade him to come out of retirement and serve once again at the Exchequer, but he refused, and remained in private life. The following year Law's successor Stanley Baldwin made the repeated request and McKenna was more agreeable. However he wished to enter Parliament as MP for the City of London and neither of the incumbent MPs would agree to vacate in order to make room. As a result McKenna declined.

It is said that he refused offers of a peerage throughout the rest of his life so as to always be in a position to be offered the Exchequer so he could refuse.


Preceded by:
Augustine Birrell
President of the Board of Education
1907–1908
Succeeded by:
Walter Runciman
Preceded by:
The Lord Tweedmouth
First Lord of the Admiralty
1908–1911
Succeeded by:
Winston Churchill
Preceded by:
Winston Churchill
Home Secretary
1911–1915
Succeeded by:
Sir John Simon
Preceded by:
David Lloyd George
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1915–1916
Succeeded by:
Andrew Bonar Law

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