On 22nd May, the lab played host to Dr. Gavin Freeman, a former committee member and chairman. He took as his subject 'The Liberal Party and the Great War', giving us a detailed narrative of the power dynamics at work within the British governement during the First World War. I was particularly interested to hear about the extent to which the Liberals were divided over how to conduct the war, with conscription being a particular area of contention. As Prime Minister of a coalition government, Lloyd George chiefly relied on Conservative support in order to maintain power and prosecute the war effort. This raises uncomfortable questions of whether ideology must necessarily be compromised in order to face a national crisis.
With histories of the First World War often focussing on the 'mud and blood' of the trenches, it is important to remember that events on the front had considerable ramifications for those in Westminster and a lasting effect on the political landscape of this country.