Lloyd George, Megan (1902–1966)

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Lloyd George, Megan (1902–1966)

First woman member of the British Parliament from Wales. Name variations: Lady Megan Lloyd George. Born Megan Arvon Lloyd George at Criccieth, North Wales, in 1902; died in 1966; third daughter and youngest child of David Lloyd George (1863–1945, a Liberal politician and prime minister) and Margaret (Owen) Lloyd George (d. 1941); educated at Garratts' Hall, Banstead, and in Paris.

The third daughter and youngest child of Liberal politician and prime minister David Lloyd George, Megan Lloyd George grew up in Downing Street during her father's residence there from 1916 to 1922, first as chancellor of the exchequer and later as prime minister. However, her mother, Dame Margaret Lloyd George , gave birth to all her children in Wales, to make sure that they were Welsh-born, and Welsh was always the language of the home.

From Downing Street, Megan had every opportunity to pursue her interest in radical politics, though she also studied modern history and politics at King's College, University of London. She accompanied her father to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and on other visits abroad, and was closely associated with his political activities, creating a precedent for Mary Churchill 's public participation in her father Winston's concerns during World War II.

In 1929, Megan Lloyd George campaigned successfully (in the Welsh language, as she always did) for the Liberal constituency of Anglesey (Ynys Mon), and joined her father and brother in the House of Commons. Twenty years later, she became deputy leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party. She was, however, defeated at the General Election of 1951 after 22 years at Westminster. The following year, she became president of the Parliament for Wales campaign. In 1955, she resigned from the Liberal Party and joined Labour, for which she fought for the West Wales parliamentary seat of Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin) in 1959, and was returned to the Commons.

Her maiden speech in 1930 showed her to be a champion of women's causes, particularly of those working or unemployed. In that decade, she spoke against Fascist Spain and against the appeasement of Nazism. She also championed Welsh issues, focusing on equality for the language in broadcasting and in the law courts, thus paving the way for the nationalist revival of the 1960s and 1970s when these matters came to a head and resulted in legislation. In a speech at a rally in 1950, she described Home Rule for Wales as "400 years overdue."

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos, to whom she lost her seat in the 1951 election, describes her as possessing "charm, gaiety, enthusiasm and sparkle"; further, she was a "natural orator" who "would have been an imaginative and lively Minister … but she was not put to the test." To mark Megan Lloyd George's 20 years in Parliament, other women MP's presented her with a book in which she was described as a "true daughter of the Welsh wizard: she bewitches friend and foe alike."

sources:

Europa Biographical Dictionary of British Women. London: Europa, 1983.

Price, Emyr. Megan Lloyd George. Gwynedd Archives Service, Caernarfon 1983.

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