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Long, Walter

Long, Walter (1854–1924). Conservative statesman. After holding junior office, Long entered the cabinet in 1895 and held a variety of middle-rank ministerial positions until the Conservative electoral disaster of January 1906. Between 1906 and 1910 he consolidated his position within the first rank of Conservative politics, emerging as a moderate tariff reformer and as an enthusiastic patron of Irish unionism. He was a contender for the Conservative leadership in November 1911, but—with Austen Chamberlain—withdrew in favour of Bonar Law. It is doubtful whether he had either the equanimity or the political subtlety to lead the Conservatives, though he certainly represented an antidote to Balfourian sophistication. He was appointed president of the Local Government Board at the formation of the first wartime coalition in May 1915, and became colonial secretary when the Lloyd George coalition was formed in December 1916. He was 1st lord of the Admiralty, his last ministerial post, between January 1917 and February 1921: he received a viscountcy after his retirement. A conscientious though unimaginative administrator, who held a representative significance as a leader of landed Toryism, Long is often depicted as a dull-witted squire, but was ferociously ambitious and strategically alert.

Alvin Jackson

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