Ministers Kill the "Two Bills" Plan

Sunday 6th December 1936

Behind the Scenes

The meeting of ministers during the morning and the full Cabinet meeting in the afternoon had both been called to discuss the "two bills" proposal under which two pieces of legislation would be passed simultaneously; one giving effect to the abdication and the other making Mrs. Simpson's divorce absolute without further ado. This would avoid a potentially awkward situation in which Edward abdicated but found that Mrs. Simpson's divorce had been blocked, thus meaning he had given up the throne for nothing.

Apart from Baldwin on-one liked the plan. It smacked of a corrupt bargain to persuade the King to leave the throne. Opposition was vehement enough at the morning meeting of a select group of ministers to kill the proposal stone-dead. The Cabinet endorsed this rapidly and was left to a general discussion of practicalities.