George Wyndham - Political Career

Political Career

Wyndham was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Dover in 1889, and held the seat until his death. In 1898 he was appointed Under-Secretary of State for War under Lord Salisbury, which he remained until 1900. He was closely involved in Irish affairs at two points. Having been private secretary to Arthur Balfour during the years around 1890 when Balfour was Chief Secretary for Ireland, Wyndham was himself made Chief Secretary by Salisbury in 1900. He brought forward a devolution scheme to deal with the Home Rule question coordinated with the Irish Reform Association.

Wyndham furthered the 1902 Land Conference and also successfully saw the significant 1903 Irish Land Act into law. This change in the law ushered in the most radical change in history in Ireland's land ownership. Before it, Ireland's land was largely owned by landlords; within years of the Acts, most of the land was owned by their former tenants, who had been subvented in their purchases by government subsidies. This could without exaggeration be called the most radical change in Irish life in history. He resigned along with the rest of the Unionist government in December 1905.

Wyndham was the leader of the "die-hard" opponents in the House of Commons of the Parliament Bill that became Parliament Act 1911.

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