The post-war coalition government has usually been seen, both by contemporaries and historians, as very much ‘Lloyd George’s government’. In some ways this is indisputable. The peculiar combination of Tories, Liberals and a few Labour and non-party figures that ruled Britain in 1916–22 would never have come into being but for their decision to support Lloyd George as Prime Minister. Moreover, in 1919 he stood at the height of his authority as one of the three most powerful men in the world, with Georges Clemenceau and Woodrow Wilson. The trappings of power surrounded him, marking him out from his colleagues and setting him at the apex of government. In particular, he continued and extended his usual practice of working with groups of experts, in the Cabinet Office, and the ‘Garden Suburb’ of special advisers. Senior members of the Cabinet were, in contrast, often treated with contempt, and collectively they sometimes seemed no more than another group of prime ministerial advisers — as when they were all summoned to Inverness in 1921 to meet their Prime Minister, who was convalescing from influenza. Lloyd George also had a tendency to take over the direction of important matters personally, rather than leaving them to departmental Ministers, especially where foreign affairs, the Irish negotiations of 1921–2 or industrial relations were concerned. In all these senses, the government was very much ‘his’ government.
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