Lloyd George, at that point Minister of War, nailed his colours to Lord Milner’s flag from September 1916 onwards when, in the afterglow of the secret meetings held with representatives of the Monday Night Cabal, [1] he reaffirmed the Secret Elite’s policies for outright victory. First he gave a private interview to Roy Howard, President of the United Press of America and swept aside any talk of peace. His words were carried across the world. They were intended to warn that any step ‘by the United States, the Vatican, or any other neutral in the direction of peace would be construed by England as an unneutral, pro-German move.’ Here it was that he coined the promise that ‘the fight must be to a finish – to a knock out’. [2]

Their design to reorganise the governing of the war, for which Lloyd George was ever ready to claim credit, began to be voiced by him at the War Committee. Out of the blue, he proposed the creation of a ‘Shipping Dictator’ to control all aspects of the shipping and ship-building industries on 10 November. Hankey considered this ‘an undigested and stupid waste of precious time’. [3] Lo and behold, six weeks later ‘Lloyd George’s’ idea had been transformed into fact. He advocated a similar approach to address the problems with food supplies in a memo which promoted the central control of these vial commodities. What the others had yet to grasp was that the Minister of War had begun to expound the basic principles of a complete reconstruction of government and its functions, principles underpinned by Milner’s belief that success would only be achieved through organisation on a national scale. [4]

Next, Lloyd George ‘adopted’ the idea that the day to day conduct of the war should be placed in the hands of a select few in parliament who would concentrate on the focused leadership required for ultimate victory. According to Lloyd George’s Memoirs, this idea stemmed from a discussion he had with Maurice Hankey when they were in Paris for a ministerial conference on 15 November 1916.

The iconic Place Vendome Paris where Lloyd George claimed to have been advised by Maurice Hankey on a reconstituted approach to government.

The given story, a story faithfully regurgitated by other historians [5] has Hankey dramatically pausing alongside the Vendome Column before urging Lloyd George: ‘You ought to insist on a small War Committee being set up for the day-to-day conduct of the War, with full powers. It must be independent of the Cabinet. It must keep in touch with the P.M., but the Committee ought to be in continuous session, and the P.M. as Head of he Government, could not manage that… He is a bit tired too after all he has gone through in the last two and a half years.’ [6] Such a specific description of time and place, detailed and precise: unfortunately it was pure fiction. Lloyd George would have posterity believe that the strategy he unleashed on government originated from Asquith’s secretary, rather than the Monday Night Cabal and the secret dinners he had been holding with Alfred Milner, Edward Carson and Arthur Lee. [7] He could hardly admit the truth.

This is not how Hankey recorded matters. He wrote of a morning stroll in Paris with Lloyd George ‘who was full of schemes…’ [8] but made no specific reference to a new approach to government. Indeed the Welshman was full of schemes but, what is of particular interest is the pivotal role given to Maurice Hankey. We know from Professor Quigley’s work [9] that Hankey was in the inner-circle of Milner’s group inside the Secret Elite, though not the precise date of his inclusion. It later became evident that Lloyd George had talked about this inner-War Committee with others before he went to Paris and had asked the newspaper owner, Max Aitken, to discuss the concept with the Conservative Party leader, Bonar Law. [10] Given that revelation, why would Lloyd George try so hard to blame, or indeed credit Maurice Hankey for the suggestion? What was he covering up? His source of inspiration was, of course, Alfred Milner and the Monday Night Cabal.

Labour politician Arthur Henderson's commitment to victory and outright rejection of peace in 1916 earned him the approval of the Monday Night Cabal.

Six days later Lloyd George told Hankey that he had further developed his ideas on an inner War Committee and his initial choice of select colleagues was Sir Edward Carson, Andrew Bonar Law and Arthur Henderson ‘to conciliate Labour members’. [11] With whom had he most recently dined? Bonar Law, of course. Hankey recorded his approval of a small and effective inner War Committee, but not the personnel. [12] He didn’t particularly like Carson or Bonar Law. By December, the time to strike was at hand.

Lloyd George stabbed Asquith in a frontal attack of Shakespearian cruelty as surely as Brutus put an end to Julius Caesar. He presented Asquith with an ultimatum, threatening to resign unless a new, smaller War Committee was appointed with himself as Chairman and his political allies by his side. If he wished, Asquith would be allowed to continue to hold the post of Prime Minister without the means to lead the war effort. Lloyd George’s friends in the Monday Night Cabal also unsheathed their knives. Geoffrey Dawson at the Times praised the Minister for War in an editorial and, without a hint of embarrassment, added: ‘Mr Lloyd George, to the best of our knowledge, took his stand entirely alone so far as his colleagues in the Cabinet are concerned, a fact which refutes the tales of intrigue.’ [13] What awesome deception. It was a ridiculous lie. The editor of the Times had been involved in the cabal to remove Asquith since its conception. He played a central part in the intrigue. Every detail of the trial of strength between Asquith and Lloyd George for the possession of 10 Downing Street appeared in Northcliffe’s papers. Lloyd George protested that he was not the mole. No-one believed him then, and no-one should now. The coup was underway.

In the brinksmanship that followed, the key parliamentary conspirators, Lloyd George, Bonar Law and Sir Edward Carson resigned, removing Liberal, Conservative and Ulster Unionist support from Asquith. With an eye to posterity, Lloyd George ended his letter of resignation to the prime minister with the words: ‘Vigour and Vision are the supreme need at this hour’. [14] His conceit was unbounded. Lloyd George imagined that he was talking about himself.

King George V was not originally predisposed towards Lloyd George.

His coalition government torn apart, Asquith tendered his resignation to the King, possibly expecting that it would be declined. Bonar Law was summoned to Buckingham Palace but he rejected the King’s offer to form a new government. He was already party to the planned coup and knew where his future lay. Lloyd George did not have to be asked twice. He had been prepared for government. He had been discussing this moment for months, and he knew exactly who and what was required.

Lloyd George had let it be known that he was willing to take up the mantle of leadership in his secret discussions with the Monday Night Cabal. From his secret meeting with Alfred Milner and Geoffrey Dawson in September 1915, at which stage it was his open commitment to conscription which caught their attention, Lloyd George took every opportunity to strengthen his links with the conspiracy to replace the coalition government. One small but pertinent example of the extent to which these men tried to cover their traces can be gleaned from this particular meeting. ‘On 30 September, after a fair amount of scheming, a luncheon was arranged at Milner’s house, 17 Great College Street. Dawson had first proposed that Milner and Lloyd George should meet at his home, but when the Minister [Lloyd George] learned that Reginald McKenna [the Chancellor of the Exchequer] lived opposite, he refused to go there.’ [15] Clearly Lloyd George had no intention of being caught on the doorstep of the editor of the Times.

Despite all of this well documented intrigue, the official reason for Asquith’s resignation given on the current Library of the House of Commons website, is, incredibly, ‘Hostile Press’. [16] His government effectively destroyed from within, himself pushed from office by the secret intrigues of former political colleagues and opposition leaders who were backed by the awesome power of the Secret Elite, Asquith’s fall from the highest office of government remains covered by a lie. No other prime ministerial resignation, retiral or reason for leaving office is described this way. It is totally misleading and serves only to add obfuscation to an important incident in our so-called democratic history that is regularly glossed over by historians. How Lloyd George would have laughed. Of course the British Establishment will never admit that Asquith was the victim of a bloodless coup.

Sir Henry Wilson , friend and confidante of Alfred Milner was party to the plot to overthrow Asquith .

By 5 December 1916 Asquith’s coalition had been dissolved. That was followed by a purge of the old order of Liberal government dressed up as an administrative revolution. [17] There was no sense of military intervention in this putsch, but senior military commanders like Sir Henry Wilson rejoiced at the coup’s progress. ‘Asquith is out. Hurrah’ he wrote in his diary, ‘… I am confident myself that, if we manage things properly, we have Asquith dead.’ [18] He used the plural ‘we’ to indicate his inclusion in the Monday Night Cabal which had planned the overthrow of government. [19] At the very least there was military collusion with the inner-core of plotters.

In our next blog we will examine the astounding changes which took place inside the British government over the following week; changes so profound and far-reaching that, for once, we can witness the Secret Elite and their agents openly taking control.

[1] A M Gollin, Proconsul in Politics, pp. 323- 364.
[2] The Times, 29 September 1916, p. 7.
[3] Hankey, Diary 10 November 1916.
[4] The Times 27 May 1915.
[5] Roy Hattersley, David Lloyd George, The Great Outsider, p. 402.
[6] David Lloyd George, War Memoirs, p. 574.
[7] fuller details are given in previous blog.
[8] Stephen Roskill, Hankey, Volume I, 1877-1918, p. 319.
[9] Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, p. 313.
[10] Roy Jenkins, Asquith; portrait of a man and an era, p. 421.
[11] Roskill, Hankey, p. 320.
[12] Ibid.
[13] The Times, 4 December 1915, p. 9.
[14] Lloyd George, War Memoirs, p. 592.
[15] Gollin, Proconsul, p. 295.
[16] Library of the House of Commons, Prime Ministers, SN/PC/4256. p. 5.
[17] John Turner, Cabinets, Committees and Secretariats: The Higher Direction of War, in Kathleen Burk, War and the State, p. 59.
[18] C E Caldwell and Marshal Foch, Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson VI: His Life and Diaries, pp. 304-5.
[19] Terence H O’Brien, Milner, pp. 266-9.