Andrew Bonar Law

From Academic Kids

The Right Hon. Andrew Bonar Law
Andrew Bonar Law
Period in Office: October, 1922 - May, 1923
PM Predecessor: David Lloyd George
PM Successor: Stanley Baldwin
Date of Birth: September 16, 1858
Place of Birth: Rexton, New Brunswick, Canada
Political Party: Conservative

Andrew Bonar Law (September 16, 1858 - October 30, 1923) was a Conservative British statesman and Prime Minister.


Early Life

Although born in Rexton, a small village in eastern New Brunswick, Canada, son of a Presbyterian minister, Law was raised by wealthy Scottish cousins. Law eventually became a partner in a Glasgow iron-working firm.


He was elected to parliament for Glasgow Central as a Conservative in 1900. He associated himself with the Protectionist wing of the party led by Joseph Chamberlain, and after Chamberlain withdrew from politics in 1906, Law came to lead that wing of the party along with Chamberlain's son, Austen.

Conservative Leader

In 1911, Arthur Balfour resigned as leader of the Tories, and after a deadlock between Chamberlain and Walter Long, Law was elected Leader as a compromise candidate. Law's closest associate was his fellow Canadian, newspaper mogul William Maxwell Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook). In the years prior to the outbreak of the First World War, Law focused most of his attention on the tariff issue and on the issue of Irish Home Rule, which he furiously opposed.

The Great War

He entered the Coalition government as Colonial Secretary in 1915, and actually had a chance to be prime minister in 1916 but deferred to Lloyd George. He served in Lloyd George's War Cabinet first as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons.

Post War and Prime Minister

Missing image
Arms of Andrew Bonar Law

At war's end he gave up the exchequer for the less demanding sinecure office of Lord Privy Seal, but remained Leader of the Commons. In 1921, ill health forced his resignation as Tory leader and Leader of the Commons in favor of Austen Chamberlain, but he returned in October 1922 to become Prime Minister when Tory backbenchers led by Stanley Baldwin forced the Conservatives to leave Lloyd George's coalition as a result of the complete failure of the Lloyd George government's policies in Turkey. He was diagnosed with terminal throat cancer and was replaced in May of 1923 by Baldwin, with whom he did not get along. He died of cancer later that same year in London.

Bonar Law's Government, October 1922 - May 1923


April 1923 - Griffith-Boscawen resigns as Minister of Health and is succeeded by Neville Chamberlain.

Preceded by:
Arthur Balfour
Leader of the British Conservative Party
Succeeded by:
Austen Chamberlain
Preceded by:
Lewis Harcourt
Colonial Secretary
Succeeded by:
Walter Long
Preceded by:
Reginald McKenna
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by:
Austen Chamberlain

Template:Succession box two to one Template:Succession box two by three to one Template:End box


Dour, narrow, unimaginative, Bonar Law was a thrust into the limelight amid the bigotry of the Ulster crisis. He is best seen as a factional leader allied to the northern Ireland Protestant majority. Though honest and of a blameless personal life, his ascendence followed by that of Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain provides a pedestrian contrast to the leaders who came before, Gladstone, Benjamin Disraeli, John Morley, Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and Herbert Henry Asquith.

Bonar Law's ill health and short term in office makes it difficult to assess his time as prime Bonar Law


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