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Andrew Bonar Law

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Andrew Bonar Law

Andrew Bonar Law (1858-1923) was Prime Minister, 1922-1923.

Born in Canada, Bonar Law came to Scotland to live with relatives as a child. Before entering politics, he was a successful banker and iron merchant in Glasgow. He became MP for Glasgow's Blackfriars and Hutchesontown division in 1900 but lost his seat in the 1906 Liberal landslide. He returned that year to represent Dulwich following a by-election.

In 1911 Bonar Law emerged as a compromise candidate to be the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party. His election came as a shock to some, with Lady Londonderry reportedly raging at the idea of "a Glasgow merchant leading the Party of English Gentlemen." He inherited a party which had lost three successive general elections, and is credited as having played a major part in saving it from disintegration and preparing it for a return to power.

When a coalition government was formed in 1915, Bonar Law became Secretary of State for the Colonies. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1916-1918, in Lloyd George's War Cabinet. He became Prime Minister when the Conservatives left the coalition in 1922 but was forced by ill-health to resign after only 209 days in power.

Reference: GC 920.04 BAI, no.2065

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

bankers, Canadians, Chancellors of the Exchequer, coalitions, Conservative Party, First World War, iron merchants, Members of Parliament, MPs, politicians, portraits, Prime Ministers

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