Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, O.M.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28 March 1945.

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Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West 12:00, 28 March 1945

I am intervening with some diffidence after the magnificent tribute, both in form and character a model of oratory, made by the Prime Minister to Lloyd George. If I do intervene, it is because, as the Prime Minister has reminded us, Lloyd George was a great Liberal and a member of our party. He entered the House of Commons half a century ago, when the dominant political figure was Mr. Gladstone. As "L. G." himself told some of us at a private gathering, in those days the issues were mainly political issues, like Home Rule, the extension of the franchise and the status of the House of Lords. The Prime Minister reminded us how, in the 20th century, the problems before Parliament changed, but that was largely due to the dynamic force and personality of character of Lloyd George himself. He took up the cause of the common man. He laid the foundation of our social legislation, which now in this Parliament we hope to complete. His success was due to his understanding of social and economic problems and his ability to make them live when he brought them before the public. He stimulated controversy, but yet his energy and personality managed to translate his ideas into legislation.

But I think the best proof of his genius came at the outbreak of the war in 1914. He who had little experience of international affairs or of war service, threw himself into them with all his energy and carved out victory in spite of all the difficulties. That has been so brilliantly said by the Prime Minister that I have nothing to add to the picture, but I should like to refer for a few moments to the last 20 years of his life. He produced four remarkable volumes of biography, perhaps one of the best pictures ever painted of war. He also found time to devote his energy to studying the problems of unemployment and the restoration of agriculture. It must have been some satisfaction to him to see his ideas taken over by the Government and embodied in their White Paper. There is something rather magnificent about the ending of his days. After a life of over four score years he retired to the village where he spent his early days and where he expressed a desire to be buried. Some of us would have liked to see his ashes laid in Westminster Abbey, but there is something magnificent in his body being buried near to the mountains and streams to which he was so devoted. We here, his friends and colleagues who feel that it is an honour to have known and worked with him, are satisfied that his memory will always remain treasured by his countrymen.