Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence


Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence

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

Born Frederick Lawrence in London, he was the son of wealthy Unitarians who were members of the Liberal Party. He was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, becoming a barrister.

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'. He published various left-wing newspapers and became involved in the Labour Party.

Pethick-Lawrence's 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 he was elected Member of Parliament for Leicester West, and was Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1929 until the formation of the self-styled 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 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. From 1945 to 1947 he was Secretary of State for India and was involved in the negotiations that led to India's independence in 1947. The barony became extinct on his death in Hendon aged 89.

External links

* http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/TUpethick.htm


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