Andrew Bonar Law

1858 - 1923

Andrew Bonar-Law
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Andrew Bonar-Law

Politician and British Prime Minister. Although born in New Brunswick (Canada), the son of a Ulster-Scots clergyman, Law was named after the Free Church minister Rev. Andrew Bonar (1810-92). He moved to Scotland after the death of his mother, staying with his aunt in Helensburgh and completing his education at the High School of Glasgow. At the age of sixteen he took a job in the merchant bank owned by his mother's family. In 1885 he took a leading role in a Glasgow-based iron merchant of William Jacks & Co while also pursuing a political career. He became the Member of Parliament for Glasgow Blackfriars (1900-6) and thereafter for Dulwich (London) and Bootle (Merseyside) before gaining the Glasgow Central seat in 1918. He succeeded Arthur Balfour as leader of the Conservative Party (1911) and supported the Ulster Unionists in the campaign against Irish home-rule, which took that country to the brink of civil war and the ramifications of which still resonate today. Perhaps most notably, Law joined David Lloyd-George in a war-time partnership during World War I, serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons. Despite failing health, he was persuaded to succeed Lloyd-George as Prime Minister in 1922, but resigned just months before his death the following year. His ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey.

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