Lloyd George's statue 'is a disgrace'

Perhaps they should have left the cover on. A statue of David Lloyd George was unveiled by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall yesterday, despite it being condemned as a "disgrace" by the playwright Harold Pinter.

Mr Pinter, along with the campaigning journalist John Pilger and former UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq Denis Halliday, had crticised the decision to honour Lloyd George – the Welshman who served as Prime Minister from 1916 to 1922 – because he had ordered British troops to bomb Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran and Iraq during the First World War.

Lloyd George's record of selling honours to boost party funds, which led to the introduction of the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act, may also have made some people at the unveiling in Parliament Square feel uncomfortable. That legislation led to the abortive "cash for honours" investigation of Tony Blair and his aides.

Of course, no mention of Llloyd George's cavalier attitude to peerages was made as Charles unveiled the 8ft bronze, with Gordon Brown and two former Prime Ministers – Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major – in the audience.

Calling Lloyd George "one of the greatest social reformers and war leaders of the 20th century", Charles told the guests, including many descendants of the statesman: "I feel it is wholly appropriate that David Lloyd George should be commemorated this way".

The prince, who is a royal patron of the appeal trust which raised £350,000 to have the statue created, added: "Though he never forgot his Welsh roots, it is as a national and international statesman that he will best be remembered."

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