There had not been a general election in Great Britain for nearly eight years. The war was a very long and particularly brutal one and the British Government clearly needed a fresh mandate in readiness for the forthcoming peace negotiations. Asquith was not an inspiring leader and before the end of the war, he was replaced by Lloyd George who had become the munitions minister. He was very dynamic and had the opinion that the Liberals had outgrown its original theories. Therefore, with the powers he had he set about on a course or radical change, he slashed bureaucratic red tape by requisitioning a hotel for his new ministry.
He instituted a five man war cabinet for the first time, this cabinet was not full of friends or cronies but instead it had influential people like Conservative leader Andrew Bonar Law Lords Curzon and Mulner And probably the most surprising member was Jan Smuts the South African Leader. Lloyd George had much to sort out, Britain’s food production was crucial but he resolved this by establishing a minimum wage for farm labourers and using prisoners of war, he started food rationing and licensing hours. He instigated a convoy system from America to U.
K to stop the German submarines sinking too many cargo ships. This proved successful with less than 1% of escorted ships being sunk. When the war had ended and a general election called Lloyd George tried to unite the Liberal Party by offering a key post to Asquith, he refused therefore the liberal party had well and truly been split. A coalition between the Conservatives and Liberals remaining loyal to Lloyd George was setup and this election turned out to be almost a one man show, it was classed as the coupon election after Bonar Law signed a statement of support.
Lloyd George made claims that he would make the Germans pay for their wrong doings and he would provide homes fit for heroes however, when you look at the results of that election it is clear that Lloyd George only won because of the electoral system. The actual fact was more people voted against the alliance and Lloyd George than for them. The 1918 election was won during a period of high optimism this led to too much being expected too soon. Lloyd George started well enough.
A plan for developing housing was drawn up en extension of unemployment insurance and the abolition of the old poor law. Unfortunately the toll on Britain during the war starting to take effect, these programme were unsustainable the economy had been wrecked by the war; Britain had huge debts and was owed vast amounts by other countries which was never repaid. There was huge over investment in the staple industries i. e. iron and shipping coal and textiles there was no market any more. Inflation spiralled interest rates went up and the boom gave way very rapidly to a depression.