MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT 1890-1906
As a result of the sudden death of Mr. Edmund Swetenham, Q.C., Conservative Member for Caernarvon Boroughs, Lloyd George found himself, at the age of twenty-seven, fighting his first election. His opponent was Mr. Ellis Nanney, the local squire in Llanystumdwy, who had opposed the Liberal candidate in the by-election of 1880, a personally acceptable and good- hearted man.
As Liberal candidate, Lloyd George pledged himself to a comprehensive programme: justice for Ireland; religious equality in Wales; various measures of land reform; direct local veto on the granting of licences for the sale of intoxicants; a liberal extension of the principle of decentralization; and the promotion of various other reforms, such as the abolition of plural voting, graduated taxation, a free breakfast table (that is, free from foreign duties on food), and the freeing of fisheries from irksome restrictions. He was elected by the narrow majority of eighteen, and continued to represent the Caernarvon Boroughs for fifty-five years.
The result was hailed with delight by the more radical elements in Wales. Other Liberals welcomed it as a victory for their cause, but some contended that the narrow majority was due to the record of the new member. In the May number of the newspaper Cymru Fydd this comment was made: 'He appeared before the constituency under serious disadvantages. He was young and unproved, he had his fortune to make in every sense. He had also unhappily brought himself to disfavour by some violent speeches, and the extreme views he had advocated more than once.'
On 17 April 1890 Lloyd George took his seat in the House of Commons--as R. C. K. Ensor says: 'On the back benches appeared another man of destiny. . . . Black-haired, blue-eyed, Welsh- speaking, addicted to picture-phrases, using English with great wit and fluency, but with the air of a foreign language, this young man seemed then an incarnation of the Celtic spirit.'