William Randal Cremer
Father of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
William Randal Cremer was nicknamed the "Member of Arbitration" by his colleagues in Parliament. This was not without reason. All his life he worked for the use of arbitration to resolve international conflicts, with the aim of preventing war.
Cremer held prominent positions of trust in the popular peace movement, and took the initiative for the establishment of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 1889. The organization provided a forum where elected representatives of different countries could cooperate. It was a triumph for Cremer that the Hague Conference in 1899 resolved to establish an international court of arbitration. In Parliament, Cremer spoke out fearlessly against war, among other things criticizing the British Government for the Boer War in South Africa.
Randal Cremer's origins were humble. He was apprenticed as a carpenter, and became a trade unionist before being elected to Parliament. In 1907 King Edward VII dubbed the old peace activist a knight, and released Cremer from the obligation to wear a sword at the ceremony.