10 DECEMBER 1948, Page 5

What I wrote here last week about the famous speech

of November 12th, 1936, in which Mr. Baldwin was inaccurately alleged to have said that he went to the country on a peace programme at the election of December, 1935, because if he had not he would have lost the election has elicited various comments. It is asked in the first place why Mr. Baldwin himself never denied the allegations. The answer to that is simple. There were no allegations at the time, because at that time the speech was misunderstood by no one. The Prime Minister left the House of Commons in the course of 1937, and took a resolve to intervene no more in party politics ; he was the last man in the world to break such a resolve in order to defend himself. It is next said that Mr. Baldwin could not have gone to the country in 1933' or 1934 because he was not Prime Minister, but Lord President, at that time. But he was, of course, completely master of the situation as head of the Conservative majority, and could have forced a dissolution at any moment. Finally it is declared that Mr. Baldwin did in fact go to the country in 1935 on a peace programme. There is a convincing refutation of that. Preceding Mr. Baldwin in the November, 1936, debate, and speaking therefore, before the Prime. Minister had said a word about the i935 election, Mr. Churchill, a vehement critic of the Government in the matter of armaments, said " Shortly after my right honourable friend became' Prime Minister in July, 1935, he began to make very serious state-. ments about the need for rearmament. Pie laid his case here 115 the House, and he fought, and won, the General Election on that issue." This, be it remembered, was less than twelve months after the election. It is late in the day to tell another story now.

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