The Boer war: Churchill's Maiden Speech
Winston Churchill became an MP at the age of 25 when he won the Parliamentary seat for Oldham in the 1900 General Election, following in the footsteps of his father Lord Randolph Churchill who in his Parliamentary life had briefly held the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer. Winston Churchill's career before politics had mainly centred on the military as a Cavalry Officer which included a tour of duty in India. He also gained employment as a war correspondent where he reported on the Cuban rebellion of 1895, and just prior to entering Parliament he was employed by the Morning Post to cover the second South African war with the Boer Army. His maiden speech in the House of Commons was concerned with this subject. Although supportive of the war, even in this very early stage of his Parliamentary career he displayed an independent streak by sympathizing with the Boer cause. He declared, ‘If I were a Boer I hope I should be fighting in the field' and arguing that the Boers should be offered generous peace terms when the war ended.
Maiden speech by Sir Winston Churchill
18th February 1901
Hansard, 4th Series, Volume 89, cc 407