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Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence

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Frederick William Pethick-Lawrence, 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence PC (28 December 1871 – 10 September 1961) was a British Labour politician.

Background and education

Born Frederick Lawrence in London, he was the son of wealthy Unitarians who were members of the Liberal Party. Three of his father's brothers, William, James, and Edwin, were politically active in various roles, including as Lord Mayor of London and as members of parliament. Frederick was educated at Wixenford,[1] Eton, and Trinity College, Cambridge,[2] where he was a member of Cambridge University Liberal Club.[3] He then became a barrister.

Political career

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Lord Pethick-Lawrence with Gandhi in 1946

Lawrence met and fell in love with Emmeline Pethick, an active socialist and campaigner for women's votes. They finally married in 1901 after Lawrence converted to socialism and from then on Lawrence took part of his wife's name and was known as 'Pethick Lawrence' (later Pethick-Lawrence). He published various left-wing newspapers and became involved in the Labour Party. His involvement in the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), on behalf of women's rights, led to him serving a nine-month prison sentence in 1912, following Christabel Pankhurst's window-smashing campaign, even though he had disagreed with that form of action; because of his disagreement, indeed, he was expelled from the WSPU by Emmeline Pankhurst and Christabel. Early in the First World War Pethick-Lawrence joined with others in founding the Union of Democratic Control (UDC), a leading anti-war organisation of which he became Treasurer. After acceptance by a Tribunal in Dorking in 1918, he worked on a farm in Sussex as a conscientious objector.

In 1923 Pethick-Lawrence was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Leicester West, and was Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1929 until the formation of the National Government in 1931; in the ensuing General Election and the rout of the Labour Party he lost his seat. He was elected for Edinburgh East in 1935 and sworn of the Privy Council in 1937.[4] From 1942 acted as Leader of the Opposition to the coalition government. In 1945 Pethick-Lawrence was elevated to the peerage as Baron Pethick-Lawrence, of Peaslake in the County of Surrey.[5] From 1945 to 1947 he was Secretary of State for India and Burma, with a seat in the cabinet, and was involved in the negotiations that led to India's independence in 1947.

Personal life

Emmeline, Lady Pethick-Lawrence, died in 1954. Lord Pethwick-Lawrence later married Helen Craggs. He died at Hendon, London, in September 1961, aged 89, when the barony became extinct.

References

  1. ^ Brian Harrison, ‘Lawrence, Frederick William Pethick-, Baron Pethick-Lawrence (1871–1961)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online biography at oxforddnb.com, January 2011, accessed 4 September 2013 (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Lawrence [post Pethick-Lawrence], Frederick William (LWRN891FW)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ "About us « Keynes Society". Keynessociety.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34407. p. 3731. 11 June 1937.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 37234. p. 4227. 21 August 1945.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alfred Hill
Member of Parliament for Leicester West
1923–1931
Succeeded by
Ernest Harold Pickering
Preceded by
David Marshall Mason
Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East
1935–1945
Succeeded by
George Thomson
Political offices
Preceded by
Arthur Samuel
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
1929–1931
Succeeded by
Walter Elliot
Preceded by
Hastings Lees-Smith
Leader of the Opposition
1942
Succeeded by
Arthur Greenwood
Preceded by
Leo Amery
Secretary of State for India and Burma
1945–1947
Succeeded by
The Earl of Listowel
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Pethick-Lawrence
1945–1961
Extinct