Lord Gerald Strickland (1924 - 1932)

Prime Minister of Malta (1924 - 1932)

Lord Gerald Strickland was born in Valletta on 24th May 1861, son of Walter Strickland and Louisa Bonici Mompalao. Gerald studied in Malta, Britain and Italy. He began to take an active part in Maltese politics at an early age and won the warm praise of Dr. Fortunato Mizzi, whom he even accompanied to London to submit a scheme for a legislative assembly. The result was that the new Constitution of December 1887 was largely based on the joint Strickland-Mizzi proposals.
In 1887, at the age of 28, he was elected to the Council of Government as representative of the nobility and land proprietors. In 1888 he was nominated Principal Government Secretary, a position he held until 1902. Strickland was created a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1889, for rendering invaluable services during a severe cholera epidemic. He was Governor of the Leeward Islands in the West Indies (1902-04), Tasmania (1904-9), West Australia (1909-12) and New South Wales (1912-17).
On returning to Malta after the grant of self government, Strickland founded the Anglo-Maltese Party in 1921 and after a few months it merged with the Maltese Constitutional Party forming the CP under his leadership. He was Leader of the Opposition (1921-27). In 1924, Lord Strickland won the sear for Lancaster for the Conservatives in the House of Commons.
After the 1927 elections, following the so called "compact" alliance with the Labour Party, he had a majority in the Legislative Assembly and became Head of Ministry (the fourth Prime Minister between August 1927 and June 1930). In 1928 he was elevated to the peerage. One of the most important projects of his government was the commencement of building works for St. Luke's Hospital.
During his administration Lord Strickland clashed with the Senate leading to the issue of Letters Patent which curtailed its powers. Concurrently he clashed with the ecclesiastical authorities which led to the suspension of the Constitution in 1930. Between July 1932 and November 1933 he was once again Leader of the Opposition and in 1939, after the grant of the new Constitution he became the leader of the elected majority in the Council of Government.
He was an owner and director of Progress Printing Company and The Times of Malta.
In 1890 Lord Strickland married Lady Edeline Sackville and they had eight children. In 1926 Gerald Strickland re-married Margarete Hulton. He died at his residence in Villa Bologna, Attard and is buried in the family chapel at the Mdina Cathedral.