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The Liberal Party and the Economy, 1929-1964$
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Peter Sloman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723509.001.0001

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Defending Economic Internationalism, 1931–5

Defending Economic Internationalism, 1931–5

(p.80) 3 Defending Economic Internationalism, 1931–5
The Liberal Party and the Economy, 1929-1964

Peter Sloman

Oxford University Press

The early 1930s marked a difficult period for the Liberal Party as the National Government polarized political loyalties, dismantled the free-trade regime established by Peel and Gladstone, and prompted the formation of a Liberal National group led by Sir John Simon. This chapter explores the contours of the Liberal split and traces the ways in which Sir Herbert Samuel and his colleagues sought to maintain and justify the official party’s independence, first within the National Government and then outside it. It argues that the task of opposing protectionist measures strengthened the party’s commitment both to economic internationalism and to market economics more generally. Public works remained an important Liberal theme, but the party expressed growing concern about socialist planning and other forms of state intervention. The chapter concludes by examining David Lloyd George’s ‘New Deal’ proposals and the party’s performance in the 1935 general election.

Keywords:   Liberal Party, Liberal National Party, National Government, free trade, Sir Herbert Samuel, Sir John Simon, David Lloyd George, planning

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