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Forgotten Liberal Heroes: Sir Edward Grey and Richard Haldane

The Liberal governments of Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H.H. Asquith, from 1905 to 1916, included many ‘big beasts’. Sir Edward Grey served as Foreign Secretary 1905–16 and remains the longest-serving holder of the office. He maintained good relations with France and Russia at a time of great instability in Europe. When his efforts to avert conflict failed, in 1914, Grey persuaded a divided cabinet to support Britain’s entry to the First World War.

Richard Haldane was Secretary for War 1905–12 and created the Territorial Army and the British Expeditionary Force. As Lord Chancellor after 1912 he pursued a series of judicial reforms. He was also a co-founder of the UK university system.

Both have a credible case for being regarded as Liberal heroes. But Grey’s record has been strongly criticised in recent years and Haldane is largely forgotten.

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