Arthur Ponsonby

Arthur Ponsonby books and biography


Arthur Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Shulbrede

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Arthur Augustus William Harry Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Shulbrede (16 February 1871 - 23 March 1946) was a British politician, writer, and social activist. He was the third son of Sir Henry Ponsonby, Private Secretary to Queen Victoria, and the great-grandson of Frederick Ponsonby, 3rd Earl of Bessborough. Frederick Edward Grey Ponsonby, 1st Baron Sysonby, was his elder brother.

Lord Ponsonby is probably most remembered for the statement: "When war is declared, truth is the first casualty", which he made in his book Falsehood in Wartime: Propaganda Lies of the First World War (1928).

He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, and joined the Diplomatic Service, taking assignments in Constantinople and Copenhagen.

At the 1906 he ran unsuccessfully as a member of the Liberal Party, but succeeded in becoming MP for Stirling Burghs in 1908.

He was opposed to Britain's involvment in World War I, and joined with George Cadbury, Ramsay MacDonald, E. D. Morel, Arnold Rowntree and Charles Trevelyan, to form the Union of Democratic Control (UDC), which became a very prominent anti-war organisation in Britain.

He was defeated in the 1918 general election, but joined the Labour Party and became the MP for the Brightside division of Sheffield at the 1922 general election.

Ramsay MacDonald appointed him to be Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in 1924, and Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs and later Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport in 1929. He became a Baron in 1930 and served as a leader in the House of Lords until 1935.

In 1940 Ponsonby resigned from the Labour Party, opposing its decision to join the National Government.

He died on 23 March 1946.

Court offices
Preceded by
Albert Wellesley
Page of Honour
Succeeded by
Victor Wellesley
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Member of Parliament for Stirling Burghs
Succeeded by
(constituency abolished)
Preceded by
John Tudor Walters
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside
Succeeded by
Fred Marshall
Political offices
Preceded by
Ronald McNeill
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Ronald McNeill
Preceded by
The Earl of Plymouth
Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
Succeeded by
William Lunn
Preceded by
The Earl Russell
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport
Succeeded by
John Allen Parkinson
Preceded by
Clement Attlee
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Lothian
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Baron Ponsonby of Shulbrede Succeeded by
Matthew Henry Hubert Ponsonby


"Ponsonby" was possibly the inspiration for the name Ponsonby Britt, the fictional "executive producer" of the TV cartoon series Rocky and Bullwinkle.

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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