Between 1908 and 1910, Winston Churchill held a cabinet post when Herbert Asquith, leader of the Liberal Party, appointed him President of the Board of Trade. Winston Churchill’s major achievement in this post was to establish labour exchanges. In 1910, he was promoted to Home Secretary. As Home Secretary, Winston Churchill used troops to maintain law and order during a miners strike in South Wales. He also used a detachment of Scots Guards to assist police during a house siege in Sidney Street in East London in January 1911. Whilst such actions may have marked him down as a man who would do his utmost to maintain law and order, there were those who criticised his use of the military for issues that the police usually dealt with.
In January 1911, Churchill showed his tougher side when he made a controversial visit to a police siege in London, with two robbers holed up in a building. Churchill's degree of participation is still in some dispute: Some accounts have him going to the scene only to see for himself what was going on; others state that he allegedly gave directions to police on how to best storm the building. What is known is that the house caught fire during the siege and Churchill prevented the fire brigade from extinguishing the flames, stating that he thought it better to "let the house burn down," rather than risk lives rescuing the occupants. The bodies of the two robbers were found inside the charred ruins.