Reformer, rebel, political activist; amongst his many achievements E D Morel directed the first great humanitarian campaign of the 20th Century which brought King Leopold II of Belgium’s brutal and genocidal regime in the Congo to an end. Following the transfer of power from the King to the Belgian Government in 1908, Morel went on to become the dominant figure in the Union for Democratic Control (UDC) during the First World War. He revealed the ‘secret treaties and lies’ leading up to the conflict and campaigned for a just and lasting peace.
Reviled by Lloyd George’s ruling coalition government, Morel was sent to prison for 6 months in 1917. On his release he became a major figure in the Labour Party, directing most of his energies against the terms and conditions of the Treaty of Versailles. In the election of 1922 he won a seat for Dundee, defeating the incumbent, Winston Churchill. Shortly before his death he was nominated for the Nobel Prize, with the Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, and 120 labour members as signatories to the nomination.