25/5/1915 Asquith forms a coalition government

British politics have been in flux since the eruption of the “shell crisis” and the resignation of Admiral Fisher. Many in the press and elsewhere are saying that Asquith’s Liberal government is not prosecuting the war effectively. The stalemate in Gallipoli is also being blamed on the government, with Winston Churchill, the naval minister, being most closely associated with the debacle.

The political crisis is so grave that the government ends up having to be reconstituted. Asquith forms a new cabinet with ministers from the Conservatives and Labour Party joining the Liberals. Asquith is able, for now, to keep the other parties from any of the key ministries; Andrew Bonar Law, the Conservative leader, becomes merely the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Nevertheless, the principle has been conceded that the Liberals are unable to prosecute the war on their own.

Winston Churchill is no longer the minister in charge of the navy. He remains in the cabinet, but the price of the failure at Gallipoli is his demotion to a non-executive role.

The “shell crisis” has seen Lord Kitchener subjected to much criticism over his alleged inability to keep the army supplied with munitions. He retains his post, however, as he is a popular figure in the country as large. But responsibility for munitions is taken from him and given to David Lloyd-George.

The formation of this cabinet marks the end of Britain’s last ever wholly Liberal government.

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