National Government (1931)

The National Government of August–October 1931, also known as the First National Government was the first of a series of national governments formed during the Great Depression in the United Kingdom. It was formed by Ramsay MacDonald as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom following the collapse of the previous minority government, led by the Labour Party, known as the Second MacDonald ministry.

National Government
1st National Government of the United Kingdom
August–October 1931
Date formed24 August 1931 (1931-08-24)
Date dissolved27 October 1931 (1931-10-27)
People and organisations
MonarchGeorge V
Prime MinisterRamsay MacDonald
Prime Minister's history1929–1935
Deputy Prime MinisterStanley Baldwin[note 1]
Total no. of members59 appointments
Member parties
Status in legislatureMajority (coalition)
Opposition partyLabour Party
Opposition leaders
Outgoing election1931 general election
Legislature term(s)35th UK Parliament
PredecessorSecond MacDonald ministry
SuccessorSecond National Government

As a National Government, it contained members of the Conservative Party, Liberals and National Labour, as well as a number of individuals who belonged to no political party. The breakaway Liberal Nationals supported the National Government after their formation in September 1931 but none received posts in the new administration. Subsequently two Liberal ministers, Alec Glassey and John Pybus, defected to the Liberal Nationals. It did not contain members of the Labour Party as MacDonald had been expelled from it. The Labour Party led the opposition.

Viewed by many Labourites as a traitor, Macdonald was expelled from the Labour Party, and remained a hated figure within the Labour Party for many years thereafter, despite his great services to his party earlier in his life.[1]