Get A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900–88 PDF

By Chris Cook

ISBN-10: 0333448847

ISBN-13: 9780333448847

ISBN-10: 1349198927

ISBN-13: 9781349198924

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Extra resources for A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900–88

Sample text

It was a rallying-cry from which the Liberal Party never looked back. The raising of the issue of Tariff Reform brought all Liberals together in defence of Free Trade. With the exception of Rosebery, who became increasingly isolated from the Liberal leadership, Free Trade acted as a tonic to party unity. Asquith was brought into close cooperation with Campbell-Bannerman. During 1903, as Liberals attacked the Chamberlain heresy, something of the old Gladstonian crusading spirit returned to the party.

Although negotiations took place between Devonshire, Earl Spencer and Asquith in December 1903 and January 1904, they eventually collapsed over the vexed question of the 1902 Education Act. But though Liberals were disappointed in their hope of an early general election, the by-elections continued to bring them fresh victories. A severe government defeat at Norwich was followed by similar catastrophies at Gateshead in January 1904 (a Labour gain) and Oswestry, normally regarded as safe Conservative territory, in June 1904 (won by the Liberals).

The defeat of Balfour was the prelude to a Liberal landslide in industrial Lancashire. Even the staunchest of Conservative citadels, in the hitherto safe rural shires, fell to the Liberals. In all, 1906 was a landslide comparable only with the victory of the 'coupon' candidates in 1918, or the National candidates in 1931 and Labour in 1945. The full results were as follows: Unionist Liberal Labour Nationalist Others Seats 157 375 54 83 Total votes 2,463,606 2,583,132 528,797 35,109 21,557 % of total 43·7 45·9 9·4 0·6 0·4 670 5,632,201 100·0 Few Conservative seats escaped the landslide of 1906.

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A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900–88 by Chris Cook

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