Charles Kerr

Charles Kerr was born on 3rd May, 1874. A mining engineer he eventually became a senior partner of Kerr, Ware and Company, Stockbrokers.

A member of the Liberal Party he was elected to the House of Commons in 1929. A supporter of Ramsay MacDonald he won his seat in 1931 as a representative of National Liberal. In 1937 he was appointed Chief Whip of the National Liberal Party.

He became involved in right-wing politics in the 1930s. He constantly argued that the real threat was the Soviet Union and that Jews were trying to persuade the British government to declare war on Nazi Germany. He also criticised the media for its anti-German bias.

In May 1939 Archibald Ramsay founded a secret society called the Right Club. This was an attempt to unify all the different right-wing groups in Britain. Or in the leader's words of "co-ordinating the work of all the patriotic societies". In his autobiography, The Nameless War, Ramsay argued: "The main object of the Right Club was to oppose and expose the activities of Organized Jewry, in the light of the evidence which came into my possession in 1938. Our first objective was to clear the Conservative Party of Jewish influence, and the character of our membership and meetings were strictly in keeping with this objective."

Members of the Right Club included Bennett, William Joyce, Anna Wolkoff, Joan Miller, A. K. Chesterton, Francis Yeats-Brown, Lord Redesdale, 5th Duke of Wellington, Duke of Westminster, E. H. Cole, John Stourton, Thomas Hunter, Aubrey Lees, Samuel Chapman, Charles Kerr, John MacKie, James Edmondson, Mavis Tate, Marquess of Graham, Margaret Bothamley, Earl of Galloway, H. T. Mills, Richard Findlay and Serrocold Skeels.

Charles Kerr, Lord Treviot, who was chairman of the Liberal National Party (1940-56), died on 7th January, 1968.

Primary Sources

(1) Charles Kerr, speech quoted in the Glasgow Herald (26th May, 1938)

Many influential people in this country are secretly supporting the Communist Party, the insidious propaganda of which is being backed by Jews. That is the substance of allegations made in Glasgow yesterday by Lieutenant-Colonel C.I. Kerr, DSO, MP, Chief Liberal National Whip.

Thus to some extent was the spread of Communism explained. The other day in an M.P.'s house he attended a secret meeting at which there were five M.P.s, ten other quite prominent men in the country, and three men who had been working in the Communist organisations in order to watch their activities.

'I can express nothing but horror at what I heard at that meeting', Col. Kerr added. I am sure that if you had been there you would hardly have credited the terrible, low-down and wicked efforts which have been made to undermine everything we stand for and hold dear'.

'Communist propaganda, we learned, works in three ways - through education, through politics and commerce, and through religion.'

'One's first reaction was to ask why it was not exposed. The reason is that there are people in this country, people in a very big way, who are supporting Communism, but not outwardly.'

He regretted to say that the great bulk of the people working in that direction were of the Jewish race. 'I have many Jewish friends'. Col. Kerr continued, 'and those with whom I have discussed this menace are as concerned as I am at what is going on.'

(2) Charles Kerr, letter to The Times (28th May, 1938)

I said that I had many friends who were Jews, and some I admired tremendously, but that I regretted that in this Communist movement there were many Jews, as indeed I fear there are English, Scotch and Welsh: there was no intention of an attack on the Jews as such, but a reference to the component influences in the Communist movement. No one abhors the treatment of the Jews in certain countries more than I do.

(3) Charles Kerr, letter to Glasgow Herald (31st May, 1938)

I have been thinking very deeply about my speech last week in Glasgow. I have come to the conclusion that in the circumstances I had no right whatsoever in my remarks on the Communist and anti- God movements to refer to the Jews. Doing so has created a completely wrong impression, and I now express my sincere regret at having done so.