George Canning (1770-1827) was in office for the less than impressive period of 118 days - from April-August 1827.

His own start in life was not exactly auspicious, as his parents were an actress and a failed businessman, but he was lucky enough to have a rich Uncle, Stratford Canning, who enabled him to attend Eton College and subsequently Oxford University.

His initial forays into the life political were highly successful, and he fared well in the governments of Pitt the Younger and the Duke of Portland; being seen as instrumental in the country's naval successes. But a blight was then cast across his career by an unfortunate involvement in a duel with the Earl of Castlereagh.

Later, though, despite being unpopular with the King, he made a comeback during the tenure as PM of Lord Liverpool, and held several ministerial posts, as well as serving as Ambassador to Portugal and doing much for British relations with both Portugal and Spain. The historian Trevelyan praised his genius and brilliancy.

In 1827, he succeeded Liverpool as PM, but was already in failing heath and died in office after only 118 days.

There are striking parallels with the present situation in British politics, with the Conservative party divided into different factions.

It still (November 2019) remains to be seen if Canning will be robbed of this unenviable honour by Boris Johnson!

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