Did Page Croft help Churchill to become war leader?

Chris Bryant’s just-published two volume Parliament: The Biography is an impressive and thorough work.

So it is interesting to read the passage in volume 2 about Winston Churchill becoming prime minister.

It is well-known that he was called to the palace on 10 May 1940 following a crucial meeting of the Labour Party national executive at the Highcliff Hotel. Labour had said yes to Churchill to lead the coalition.

Chris Bryant suggests in his book that the fall of Chamberlain was partly the result of a speech in the Commons on 7 May by Bourenmouth MP Sir Henry Page Croft. In the debate, just after the German invasionĀ of Norway, Page Croft tried to defend Chamberlain but said: “If you are convinced that you can find a better man then put him there.”

This was followed in the same debate on the same day by Leo Amery’s famous and fatal call in the words of Cromwell to the Long Parliament: “Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”

Churchill appointed Page Croft Under Secretary for War.

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