Caretaker Government 1945

Caretaker Government 1945

The Caretaker Government 1945 was a United Kingdom Ministry, which held office from 23 May 1945 until 26 July 1945, during the latter stages of the Second World War. The head of the government was the Prime Minister since 1940, Winston Churchill of the Conservative Party.

Formation of the caretaker government

After the defeat of Germany, in the Second World War, Winston Churchill (leader of the Conservative Party) proposed to Clement Attlee (leader of the Labour Party) and Sir Archibald Sinclair (leader of the Liberal Party) that the war-time coalition should continue until victory over Japan.

At first it seemed agreement would be reached but, at the Labour Party Conference in 1945, opinion was hostile to a continuation of the coalition. Attlee wrote to Churchill to confirm that his party wanted an election in October and would leave the coalition then.

Churchill (under pressure from his party to hold a quick election, to exploit his standing as the man who had won the war) then resigned as Prime Minister, whilst the Labour conference was still in session. This brought the war-time coalition government to an end on 23 May 1945. King George VI the same day invited Churchill to form a caretaker government pending the United Kingdom general election, 1945.

The caretaker government was formed from members of the Conservative Party and the groups and politicians who had been associated with them in the National government, in office up to 1940.

The Liberal Party were determined to fight the general election as an independent party, so they did not join the caretaker government. However one Liberal Member of Parliament, Gwilym Lloyd-George, accepted an invitation to join the ministry.

General election and resignation of Churchill

Parliament was dissolved on 15 June 1945. Polling day was on 5 July 1945 and the results were declared on 26 July 1945. Mr Churchill, having been defeated in the election, resigned on 26 July and was replaced as Prime Minister by Clement Attlee.

Members of the government

Members of the Cabinet are in bold face.


* "History of the Liberal Party 1895-1970", by Roy Douglas (Sidgwick & Jackson 1971)
* "Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume III 1919-1945", edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (The Harvester Press 1979)

* "Attlee", by Kenneth Harris (Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1982)
* "Twentieth Century British Political Facts 1900-2000", D. Butler and G. Butler (Macmillan Press 2000)

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