Bonar Law

Andrew Bonar Law was born in 1858, in New Brunswick – now a province of Canada, but then an independent colony. (Canada was confederated as a Dominion in 1867.) His sister took him back to Scotland at the age of 12, after his mother died and his father (a minister of the Free Church of Scotland) remarried.

The family name was Law, and he was named after the Scottish church minister Andrew Bonar – presumably a colleague of his father's. His family knew him as Bonar, and the public knew him as Bonar Law. (Bonar rhymes with honour.)

Bonar Law had succeeded Arthur Balfour as Leader of the Conservative Party in 1911, and was Chancellor of the Exchequer for the latter half of World War I; but he resigned as Conservative leader in 1921 for health reasons. His successor, Austen Chamberlain, resigned after his back–benchers voted to end the coalition and fight the next election as an independent party. Law led the Conservatives to victory in the election, and thus succeeded Lloyd George as Prime Minister, but his health soon deteriorated still further and he resigned in May 1923, after less than seven months in office (one day less, to be precise). He died of throat cancer, aged 65, on 30 October 1923 – exactly one week after the first anniversary of his becoming Prime Minister.

© Haydn Thompson 2016