Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 251 May 8, 1940

The Norway Debate in the House of Commons continues. The Labour opposition party calls for a vote of no confidence in Chamberlain’s government. Liberal party’s David Lloyd George (a former Prime Minister during WWI) attacks Chamberlain, asking him to sacrifice his premiership for the good of the country. Chamberlain expects to keep his usual large majority in a party-line vote, saying “At least I shall see who is with us and who is against us and I call upon my friends to support us in the lobby tonight. I have friends in this House.” However, his own party turns against him and he wins by only 281 votes to 200 and it is clear that he must resign.

Chamberlain’s critics are careful to spare his likely successor Winston Churchill from censure or blame. Chamberlain is depressed and confers late into the night with Churchill, debating whether he should step down.

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