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A Short History of the Liberal Party: The Road Back to Power by Chris Cook (auth.)

By Chris Cook (auth.)

Chris cook dinner lifts the lid at the 'third Party;' charting their interesting trip during the last century, from the landslide victory of 1906 below Asquith, through their descent into divisions and decline within the interwar years, to in-depth research of the 2010 British Election and their go back to govt within the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.

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Extra resources for A Short History of the Liberal Party: The Road Back to Power

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All these difficulties were aggravated by the loss of working-class support for the Liberals. The handling of the Featherstone strike, together with the low priority given to industrial legislation at a time of worsening industrial relations, all served to alienate the trade union and working-class supporters within the party. It was, perhaps, symbolic that Keir Hardie’s Independent Labour Party was formed in 1893. It was hardly surprising, against this background both in Parliament and in the country, that Rosebery’s administration was short-lived.

Elements in the party who were more interested in reform in a domestic context resented the concentration of the party’s legislative effort on the Home Rule issue, and were unwilling to countenance a possible dissolution after the Lords’ rejection of the Bill. The electoral appeal of Gladstonian Home Rule could justifiably be questioned after the experiences of 1886 and 1892. Secondly, it was apparent that the leadership of the party were personally antagonistic towards one another. 5 One basic conflict was between Harcourt and Rosebery.

Ritchie. In due course these ideas provided the basis for the programme of social reform of the 1905 to 1914 era. The reaction to the power of the National Liberal Federation which set in after 1895 was hardly unexpected. By 1898 the NLF was ready to disavow any claim to be the policy-making centre of the party. Its resolutions recognised that the Federation was not to ‘interfere with the time or order in which questions are taken up’. Similarly, the Federation agreed that its relationship with the official leadership was purely advisory.

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