100 years ago: Mr Asquith’s Cabinet

16 April 2008

April 16th, 1908.

MR ASQUITH has lost no time in forming a new Cabinet, for the most part out of the old materials. The most interesting of the changes made is the promotion of Mr Morley and Sir Henry Fowler to the House of Lords with the rank of Viscounts, each retaining his present place in the Ministry. It is a great shock to the Daily News that Mr Morley, the author of the phrase, “mending or ending”, as applied to the Gilded Chamber, is not content to remain “an English gentleman” —(hard on viscounts, by the way)— but must needs join an assembly which the late Government had a mandate to destroy. The one promotion among Cabinet appointments which is generally acclaimed is Mr Lloyd-George’s advancement to the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer. At the Board of Trade he has won golden opinions by his remarkable tact and business capacity. The nomination of Mr Winston Churchill as his successor is simply grotesque, and the rewarding Mr McKenna for his incapacity as Education Minister with the First Lordship of the Admiralty, vice Lord Tweedmouth, is one of those things that nobody can understand. The new Minister of Education is Mr Runciman, a Dissenter as Mr McKenna was, but, unlike him, without a past in the matter of educational polemics. A Radical paper, however, rather ominously declares that he has the confidence of the Dissenters. It will be well to bear this in mind. Two members of the Ministry, Lords Elgin and Portsmouth, receive their congé; but “nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail and beat the breast.”

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