Lord Strickland, by far one of the most outstanding political figures in colonial Malta, was as controversial as socialist firebrand Dom Mintoff. Most of the politicians of his time have long faded into history but Strickland’s name still resonates today. This work explores the political plots hatched against him and gives a blow-by-blow account of the controversies and political intrigue that plagued his turbulent life. Strickland’s contribution to Malta’s social and political advancement is often undervalued, mainly because of myths and unfounded claims that overshadowed much of his work.
Strickland served in no fewer than four governorship posts in the colonial service. When he was the island’s prime minister, he was, for a time, concurrently a member of two parliaments, Malta’s legislative assembly and the House of Commons. What dominates Strickland’s life is a bitter dispute with the Church over its interference in politics. It was one of the most classic clashes between Church and State in modern times, directly involving Vatican and British chancelleries in power politics. This work goes deeply into claims, proved to have been unfounded, that Strickland was a Freemason, and reconstructs the attempt on Strickland’s life at the law courts in 1930. History has been generally unkind to Strickland. This re-evaluation of his political life and times, anchored firmly in the context of the time, attempts to put him in a better light.