on Friday evening last
I received His Majesty’s commission
to form a new administration.
It as the evident wish and will of Parliament
and the nation that this should be conceived
on the broadest possible basis
and that it should include all parties,
both those who supported the late government
and also the parties of the opposition.
I have completed the most important part of this task.
A war cabinet has been formed of five members,
representing, with the liberal opposition,
the unity of the nation.
The three party leaders have agreed to serve,
either in the war cabinet or in high executive office.
The three fighting services have been filled.
It was necessary that this should be done in one single
day, on account of the extreme urgency and rigor of events.
A number of other key positions were filled yesterday
and I am submitting a further list to His Majesty tonight.
I hope to complete the appointment of the
principal ministers during tomorrow.
The appointment of the other ministers usually takes
a little longer, but I trust that when Parliament
meets again, this part of my task will be completed and
that the administration will be complete in all respects.
Sir, I considered it in the public interest to suggest
that the House should be summoned to meet today.
Mr. Speaker agreed, and took the necessary steps
in accordance with the powers conferred upon him
by the resolution of the House.
At the end of the proceedings today, the Adjournment
of the House will be proposed until Tuesday, 21st May,
with, of course, provision for earlier meeting, if need be.
The business to be considered during that week will be
notified to members at the earliest opportunity.
I now invite the House, by the resolution which stands in
my name, to record its approval of the steps taken
and to declare its confidence in the new government.
Third, to form an administration of this scale
and complexity is a serious undertaking in itself
but it must be remembered that we are in the preliminary
stage of one of the greatest battles in history.
That we are in action at many other points in Norway and in
Holland, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean,
that the air battle is continuous and that
many preparations have to be made here at home.
In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if
I do not address the House at any length today.
I hope that any of my friends and colleagues,
or former colleagues, who are affected by the
political reconstruction, will make all allowances for any
lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act.
I would say to the House, as I said to those
who have joined this government,
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind.
We have before us many, many long months
of struggle and of suffering.
You ask, what is our policy?
I will say, it is to wage war, by sea, land and air,
with all our might and with all the strength
that God can give us.
To wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed
in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime.
That is our policy.
You ask, what is our aim?
I can answer in one word, victory.
Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror,
victory, however long and hard the road may be,
for without victory, there is no survival.
Let that be realized.
No survival for the British Empire.
No survival for all that the British Empire has stood for.
No survival for the urge and impulse of the ages,
that mankind will move forward towards its goal.
But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope.
I feel sure that our cause will not
be suffered to fail among men.
At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all,
and I say, come then, let us go forward together
with our united strength.