After Number 10: Former Prime Ministers in British Politics by K. Theakston

By K. Theakston

Having misplaced an election, been thrown out through their get together, or retired on grounds of ill-health, what do former British major ministers do? within the first booklet to examine the lives, political roles and impression of former best ministers, Theakston analyzes the entire former leading ministers from Walpole within the 18th century to Blair this present day.

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Extra info for After Number 10: Former Prime Ministers in British Politics

Sample text

16 Bute tried to lure him back into office within a few months of his resignation, but Newcastle refused to be captured and neutralised in that way by a ministry he wanted to see ousted. He made some blunders, as when in the autumn of 1762 he called upon those of his supporters still holding office to resign and saw an embarrassingly small number heed him, many choosing to hang on to their posts and abandon their former loyalties. Worse followed when the government retaliated by carrying out a big purge of Pelhamites from office, throwing Newcastle’s party into disarray, and further humiliated the Duke by stripping him of his lord lieutenancies and other honorific offices.

A contemporary writer claimed North feared the loss of his head and was driven into alliance with Fox to escape the risk of a state trial, but this view is fanciful. North’s correspondence does not indicate he seriously thought impeachment was likely. Many of North’s opponents liked him personally and he was still popular with the public, which would not have stood for it. 47 The release from the chains of office seems to have done North a lot of good. He was said to be ‘very good company’ and his friend Edward 36 After Number 10 Gibbon, the historian, noted in September 1782 he was ‘not so fat and more cheerful than ever’.

In February and March 1766 he had one last triumph, playing a leading role in pushing the ministry’s repeal of the Stamp Act through the House of Lords and also helping persuade a doubtful George III that the policy of conciliation of the American colonies in the interests of trying to revive British trade was right. 18 ‘Seventy-three and ambition are ridiculous comrades’, wrote Horace Walpole but even now Newcastle would not retire from politics and public life, though Walpole to Shelburne 23 he knew he would not hold office again.

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