The 1931 Settlement

  • Nick Smart
Part of the British Studies Series book series (BRSS)


The circumstances surrounding the formation of the National government on 24 August 1931 have been much debated. But the event, while registering the disintegration of Ramsay MacDonald’s second Labour government, did not in itself effect a restructuring of British politics. That took place over the next ten weeks. At its inception, the National government was announced as being a temporary measure, formed to ‘save the pound’ and restore business and international confidence. Presented as a sort of ‘emergency Committee of Public Safety’,1 its brief was to produce that balanced budget which the late Labour government had failed to do. That achieved, it was to wither away as suddenly as it had been formed, with the various parties ‘resuming their respective positions’.2 Any successor government, it was universally attested, would be of the single-party type only a general election could produce.


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© Nick Smart 1999

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  • Nick Smart

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