The Middle Period: November 1933 – December 1935

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


The Samuelite Liberals’ ‘crossing the floor’ in November 1933 was in itself an undramatic event. The intention to move into opposition had been indicated for months past through party conference demands and by a more or less public recognition by Liberal MPs that the final break with the government was imminent.1 Sinclair’s summer correspondence with Samuel, on holiday in Canada, registered the demoralized state of the party and concluded that the longer it remained in its present position ‘the more inglorious, embarrassing and insignificant it becomes’.2 Hence on the eve of the opening of the new parliamentary session Samuel broadcast his declaration of ‘the fullest independence’ over the wireless,3 and privately hoped that ‘the whole, or almost the whole of his followers’ would fall into line.4 The bulk of them did, though the process was untidy. Four erstwhile Samuelites stayed where they were. One had already crossed over — Harry Nathan, soon to join the Labour party — and Aaron Curry, a supposed Simonite, went into opposition with Samuel and friends.5 If the manoeuvre amounted to belated Samuelite recognition that Lloyd George had been right all along, it scarcely seemed to matter at the time. Despite much talk in the party’s area federations of a reconciliation and Snowden’s efforts to mediate, Lloyd George was indifferent to Samuel’s overtures.


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© Nick Smart 1999

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