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Davies, (Edward) Clement

Davies, (Edward) Clement (1884–1962). Liberal leader. Born in Montgomery and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, Davies began as a successful lawyer, but was returned to Parliament as a Liberal in 1929 for his native county, holding the seat for the rest of his life. In the 1930s he belonged to the Liberal National group which supported the government, and at the outbreak of the Second World War strongly urged a wider coalition. He played some part in the overthrow of Chamberlain's government in 1940. In 1945 he became leader of the Liberal Party when Sir Archibald Sinclair failed to retain his seat, and in 1951 was offered a cabinet post by Churchill. His colleagues, anxious to preserve Liberal independence, persuaded him to refuse. Respected and convivial, ‘Clem’ was scarcely the man to rejuvenate the party in the nadir of its fortunes, though he did reunite the two wings. But from twelve MPs in 1945 their numbers dropped to six in 1950. After the 1955 general election he was gently eased out of the leadership and replaced by Jo Grimond.

J. A. Cannon

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