PrimroseLord Croft of Bournemouth (Brigadier General Sir Henry Page Croft) and The Knole. Primrose

Brigadier General Sir Henry Page Croft, bart. C.M.G., T.D., J.P., D.L., M.P. was born 1881, son of Lieutenant Richard Benyon Croft, R.N., J.P., D.L. of Ware, Hertfordshire. Married the Hon. Nancy Beatrice Borwick youngest Daughter of the 1st Baron Borwick and had issue 1 son and 3 daughters. He was educated at Eton, Shrewsbury and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Was Conservative M.P. for Christchurch, Hampshire in 1910 and Chairman of Organisation Committee, Tariff Reform League 1913 - 1917. Bt-Colonel late 1st Batt. Herts Regt. Served World War 1, 1914-1916 (despatches, awarded the C.M.G. in 1915) and promoted Temporary Brigadier-General Feb. 1916 (despatches).
Conservative M.P. for Bournemouth 1918 to 1940. Member of Speaker's Conference on the Franchise 1918. Bt. Colonel and Hon. Brigadier-General in 1924, and also created Baronet and retired in the same year. Chancellor of the Primrose League 1928-1929. Member of Civil List Committee 1936, Member of Select Committee on Speaker's Seat and Member of Committee of Privileges 1939. Under-Secretary of State for War 1940 to July 1945. Created Baron 1940. Grand Prior of The Primrose League in 1946 (Site Editors Note: The Knights' Imperial Chapter of the Primrose League had Grand Priors' but this title has not been noted as being used by the main body). Recreations: Rowing and twice won the Thames Cup at Henley and rowed three years for Trinity Hall Cambridge. He resided at 'The Knole' circa 1914 - 1940 and died in 1947.


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Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 153, Oct. 24, 1917.


Tuesday, October 16th. -- To Mr. Punch's blunt inquiry, "Why?" in last week's cartoon different answers would, I suppose, be returned by various Members. The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER would say that the reassembling of Parliament was necessary in order that he might obtain a further Vote of Credit from the representatives of the taxpayers. Brigadier-General PAGE CROFT, inventor and C.-in-C. of the new "National" party, who has already attached to himself a following not inferior numerically to the little band which, under Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL in the eighties, struck terror into the hearts of the Front Benches, longs to prove that, under his brilliant leadership, Lord DUNCANNON, Sir RICHARD COOPER and Major ROWLAND HUNT will emulate the early prowess of Sir JOHN GORST, Sir HENRY DRUMMOND-WOLFF and Mr. ARTHUR BALFOUR.
But a word to the gallant General: he will do little until he has secured a corner-seat. By hook or by crook Mr. HOUSTON, "the Pirate King," must be induced or compelled to surrender his coign of vantage to the new generalissimo, who will then be able alternately to pour a broadside into the Government or to enfilade the ex-Ministers who aid and abet them.


The National Party was a British political party created by Baron A. O. V. Ampthill, Sir Richard Cooper and Sir Henry Page Croft in 1917 as a right-wing split from the Conservative Party. Its members took a particularly xenophobic line on World War I and it was also strongly opposed to the sale of honours.
Most of the party's members rejoined the Conservatives before the 1918 UK general election. Its remaining candidates ran against the Lloyd George Coalition that year, both Cooper and Croft being elected.
The National Party held public meetings and petitioned the Prime Minister Lloyd George. Its policies included raising the conscription age to fifty and introducing conscription to Ireland, the closing of German banks and businesses in the UK, the internment of enemy aliens, a guaranteed price for home-grown cereals, protectionism for British industry and counter air-raids against German towns.
The close links the National Party alleged to exist between heads of companies and government departments which gave them contracts were attacked. On one occasion its offices in King Street were raided by the police.
The National party had policies to help the working class because they claimed "for if you wish for a patriotic race, you must aim at a contented people, reared under healthy conditions...and with full scope for advancement". One of its slogans was "no restriction in wages in return for no restriction of output".
Croft and Cooper were supported at the 1918 general election by the Earl of Bessborough, his son the Lord Duncannon, the Lord Leith of Fyvie and the Duke of Somerset. There were twenty-three National party candidates but only Cooper and Croft were returned to Parliament.
Occasionally it co-operated with the National Democratic and Labour Party.
In January 1921 the National party was disbanded but was revived under the new name of the National Constitutional Association which held conventions and co-operated with the 4th Marquess of Salisbury to help end the Lloyd George Coalition.

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