Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and won a landslide victory in the following year's general election. Under Prime Ministers Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith, the Liberal Party passed the welfare reforms that created a basic British welfare state. Although Asquith was the party's leader, its dominant figure was David Lloyd George. Asquith was overwhelmed by the wartime role of coalition Prime Minister and Lloyd George replaced him as Prime Minister in late 1916, but Asquith remained as Liberal Party leader; the pair fought for years over control of the party.
Historian Martin Pugh in The Oxford Companion to British History argues: Lloyd George made a greater impact on British public life than any other 20th-century leader, thanks to his pre-war introduction of Britain's social welfare system. Furthermore, in foreign affairs, he played a leading role in winning the First World War, redrawing the map of Europe at the peace conference, partitioning Ireland; the government of Lloyd George was dominated by the Conservative Party, which deposed him in 1922. By the end of the 1920s, the Labour Party had replaced the Liberals as the Conservatives' main rival; the party went into decline after 1918 and by the 1950s won no more than six seats at general elections. Apart from notable by-election victories, its fortunes did not improve until it formed the SDP–Liberal Alliance with the newly formed Social Democratic Party in 1981. At the 1983 general election, the Alliance won over a quarter of the vote, but only 23 of the 650 seats it contested. At the 1987 general election, its share of the vote fell below 23% and the Liberal and Social Democratic parties merged in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats.
A splinter group reconstituted the Liberal Party in 1989. It was formed by party members opposed to the merger who saw the Liberal Democrats diluting Liberal ideals. Prominent intellectuals associated with the Liberal Party include the philosopher John Stuart Mill, the economist John Maynard Keynes and social planner William Beveridge; the Liberal Party grew out of the Whigs, who had their origins in an aristocratic faction in the reign of Charles II and the early 19th century Radicals. The Whigs were in favour of increasing the power of Parliament. Although their motives in this were to gain more power for themselves, the more idealistic Whigs came to support an expansion of democracy for its own sake; the great figures of reformist Whiggery were Charles James Fox and his disciple and successor Earl Grey. After decades in opposition, the Whigs returned to power under Grey in 1830 and carried the First Reform Act in 1832; the Reform Act was the climax of Whiggism, but it brought about the Whigs' demise.
The admission of the middle classes to the franchise and to the House of Commons led to the development of a systematic middle class liberalism and the end of Whiggery, although for many years reforming aristocrats held senior positions in the party. In the years after Grey's retirement, the party was led first by Lord Melbourne, a traditional Whig, by Lord John Russell, the son of a Duke but a crusading radical, by Lord Palmerston, a renegade Irish Tory and a conservative, although capable of radical gestures; as early as 1839, Russell had adopted the name of "Liberals", but in reality his party was a loose coalition of Whigs in the House of Lords and Radicals in the Commons. The leading Radicals were John Bright and Richard Cobden, who represented the manufacturing towns which had gained representation under the Reform Act, they favoured social reform, personal liberty, reducing the powers of the Crown and the Church of England, avoidance of war and foreign alliances and above all free trade.
For a century, free trade remained the one cause. In 1841, the Liberals lost office to the Conservatives under Sir Robert Peel, but their period in opposition was short because the Conservatives split over the repeal of the Corn Laws, a free trade issue; this allowed ministries led by Russell and the Peelite Lord Aberdeen to hold office for most of the 1850s and 1860s. A leading Peelite was William Ewart Gladstone, a reforming Chancellor of the Exchequer in most of these governments; the formal foundation of the Liberal Party is traditionally traced to 1859 and the formation of Palmerston's second government. However, the Whig-Radical amalgam could not become a true modern political party while it was dominated by aristocrats and it was not until the departure of the "Two Terrible Old Men", Russell and Palmerston, that Gladstone could become the first leader of the modern Liberal Party; this was brought about by Palmerston's death in 1865 and Russell's retirement in 1868. After a brief Conservative government, Gladstone won a huge victory at the 1868 election and formed the first Liberal government.
1859 United Kingdom general election
In the 1859 United Kingdom general election, the Whigs, led by Lord Palmerston, held their majority in the House of Commons over the Earl of Derby's Conservatives. This election is considered to be the first to be contested by the Liberal Party—a name unofficially adopted to cover the alliance of Whigs, Peelites and Irish Brigade who had voted against the Derby administration in the House of Commons that had led to the election, it was the last general election entered by the Chartists, before their organisation was dissolved. As of 2019 this is the last election in which the Conservatives won the most seats in Wales, as well as being the last election to date in which the Conservative Party took less than a third of the vote in England; the election was the quietest and least competitive between 1832 and 1885, with most county elections being uncontested. The election saw the lowest number of candidates between 1832 and 1885, with Tory gains being the result of a lack of opposition as much as a change in public opinion.
Spartacus: Political Parties and Election Results
Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, was a British statesman who served twice as Prime Minister in the mid-19th century. Palmerston dominated British foreign policy during the period 1830 to 1865, when Britain was at the height of her imperial power, he held office continuously from 1807 until his death in 1865. He began his parliamentary career as a Tory, defected to the Whigs in 1830, became the first Prime Minister of the newly formed Liberal Party in 1859. Palmerston succeeded to his father's Irish peerage in 1802, he became a Tory MP in 1807. From 1809 to 1828 he served as Secretary at War, in which post he was responsible for the organisation of the finances of the army, he first attained Cabinet rank in 1827, when George Canning became Prime Minister, like other Canningites, he resigned from office one year subsequently. He served as Foreign Secretary 1830–34, 1835–41, 1846–51. In this office, Palmerston responded efficaciously to a series of conflicts in Europe, his belligerent actions as Foreign Secretary, some of which were controversial, have been considered to be prototypes of the practice of liberal interventionism.
Palmerston became Home Secretary in Aberdeen's coalition government, in 1852, subsequent to the Peelite advocacy of the appointment of Lord John Russell to the office of Foreign Secretary. As Home Secretary, Palmerston enacted various social reforms; when public antipathy over the Government's policy in the Crimean War lost the Government popular favour, in 1855, Palmerston was the only Prime Minister, able to sustain a majority in Parliament. He had two periods in office, 1855–1858 and 1859–1865, before his death at the age of 80 years, a few months subsequent to victory in a general election in which he had achieved an increased majority, he remains, to the last Prime Minister to die in office. Palmerston masterfully controlled public opinion by stimulating British nationalism, despite the fact that Queen Victoria and most of the political leadership distrusted him, he received and sustained the favour of the press and the populace, from whom he received the affectionate sobriquet'Pam'. Palmerston's alleged weaknesses included mishandling of personal relations, continual disagreements with the Queen over the royal role in determining foreign policy.
Historians consider Palmerston to be one of the greatest foreign secretaries, as a consequence of his handling of great crises, his commitment to the balance of power, which provided Britain with decisive agency in many conflicts, his analytic skills, his commitment to British interests. His policies in relation to India, Italy and Spain had extensive long-lasting beneficial consequences for Britain: although the consequences of his policies toward France, the Ottoman Empire, the United States were more ephemeral. Henry John Temple was born in his family's Westminster house to the Irish branch of the Temple family on 20 October 1784. Henry was to become The 3rd Viscount Palmerston upon his father's death in 1802, his family derived their title from the Peerage of Ireland, although the 3rd Viscount would never visit Ireland. His father was The 2nd Viscount Palmerston, an Anglo-Irish peer, his mother was Mary, a daughter of Benjamin Mee, a London merchant. From 1792 to 1794, the young future Lord Palmerston accompanied his family on a long Continental tour.
Whilst in Italy Palmerston acquired an Italian tutor, who taught him to speak and write fluent Italian. The family visited their huge country estate in the north of County Sligo in the West of Ireland, he was educated at Harrow School. Admiral Sir Augustus Clifford, 1st Bt. was a fag to Palmerston, Viscount Althorp and Viscount Duncannon and remembered Palmerston as by far the most merciful of the three. Palmerston was engaged in school fights and fellow Old Harrovians remembered Palmerston as someone who stood up to bullies twice his size. Palmerston's father took him to the House of Commons in 1799, where young Palmerston shook hands with the Prime Minister, William Pitt. Palmerston was at the University of Edinburgh, where he learnt political economy from Dugald Stewart, a friend of the Scottish philosophers Adam Ferguson and Adam Smith. Palmerston described his time at Edinburgh as producing "whatever useful knowledge and habits of mind I possess". Lord Minto wrote to Palmerston's parents that young Palmerston was charming.
Stewart wrote to a friend, saying of Palmerston: "In point of temper and conduct he is everything his friends could wish. Indeed, I cannot say that I have seen a more faultless character at this time of life, or one possessed of more amiable dispositions."Palmerston succeeded his father to the title of Viscount Palmerston on 17 April 1802, before he had turned 18. The young 3rd Lord Palmerston inherited a vast country estate in the north of County Sligo in the west of Ireland, he built Classiebawn Castle on this estate. Palmerston went to Cambridge; as a nobleman, he was entitled to take his MA without examinations, but Palmerston wished to obtain his degree through examinations. This was declined, although he was allowed to take the separate College examinations, where he obtained first-class honours. After war was declared on France in 1803, Palmerston joined the Volunteers mustered to oppose a French invasion, being one of the three officers in the unit for St John's College, he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Commander of the Romsey Volunteers.
In February 1806 Palmerston was defeated in the election for
Sir Ivor Martin Crewe, DL FAcSS is the Master of University College and President of the Academy of Social Sciences. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex and a Professor in the Department of Government at Essex; the son of Jewish refugees from Czechoslovakia and Germany, Crewe was educated at Manchester Grammar School and went to Exeter College, where he gained a first-class BA in Philosophy and Economics in 1966. In 1968 he received his MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science where he earned the SSRC post-graduate award, he was appointed as an Assistant Lecturer in Politics at Lancaster University at the age of 21, before returning to Oxford in 1969 for two years as a Junior Research Fellow, thereafter moving to a Lectureship at the Department of Government at the University of Essex in 1971. At Essex, Crewe was director of the ESRC Data Archive from 1974 to 1982, co-director of the British Election Study from 1973-81. With Dr David Rose, he established the British Household Panel Study and founded the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Essex in 1990.
From 1977-82, Crewe was editor of the British Journal of Political Science and from 1984-92 he was a co-editor. Crewe undertook extensive research from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s in elections and voting behaviour, published his results in Decade of Dealignment and numerous articles, including the influential'Partisan Dealignment in Britain 1964–74', British Journal of Political Science, 7, pp. 129–90, which argued that voters' identification with the Conservative and Labour Parties was weakening as a result of the decline in class loyalty and in the connections voters made between class interests and party policies. He was a frequent commentator on UK elections for the press, he argued that the Labour Party was destined for electoral defeat as the traditional working class contracted unless it both appealed to a wider social constituency embracing other classes and revised its assumptions about the policies that would appeal to a majority of voters. He regarded the electoral success of New Labour in the 1997 and 2001 general elections as a vindication of his electoral analysis.
In 1995 he published a study of the Social Democratic Party, a breakaway from the Labour Party, which for him represented a symptom of the crumbling of the old foundations of Britain's two-party system. From 1995 to 1 September 2007, Crewe was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex and is a former Chair of the 1994 Group and President of Universities UK; as President of UUK from 2003 to 2005, he mobilised university Vice-Chancellors in favour of the Government's proposal to introduce tuition fees. Crewe was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 2006 New Year Honours. In July 2008, Crewe succeeded Lord Butler of Brockwell as Master of Oxford. In 2013 Crewe and King published The Blunders of our Governments, a study of major failures of public policy in modern Britain. Peter Preston's review in The Guardian commented "It should be a distressing account of blunders past and pending from two of our most brilliant political analysts, but in fact you have to smile gallantly through many of the disasters that throng 400 or more of these pages".
Named in his honour and designed by architect Patel Taylor, the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall at the University of Essex, was completed in 2006. The building was nominated for a Civic Trust Award in 2008. Ivor Crewe,'The Electorate: Partisan Dealignment Ten Years On', West European Politics, 6, pp. 183–215. Ivor Crewe,'Has the Electorate Become Thatcherite?', in Robert Skidelsky, Thatcherism, pp. 25–49. Ivor Crewe,'Values: The Crusade that Failed' in Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Seldon, The Thatcher Effect, pp. 239–50. Ivor Crewe,'Margaret Thatcher: As the British Saw Her', The Public Perspective, Vol. 2, January/February 1991, pp. 15–17. Ivor Crewe,'The Thatcher legacy', in Anthony King, Britain at the Polls, 1992, pp. 1–28. Ivor Crewe,'Electoral Behaviour' in Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Seldon, The Major Effect, pp. 99–121. Ivor Crewe and Anthony King, SDP: The Birth and Death of the British Social Democratic Party. Ivor Crewe and Anthony King, The Blunders of our Governments. Biography from EPSRC. Ivor Crewe: all to play for, The Guardian, 3 February 2004.
Sir Ivor Crewe's CV at the University of Essex
1874 United Kingdom general election
The 1874 United Kingdom general election saw the incumbent Liberals, led by William Ewart Gladstone, lose decisively though it won a majority of the votes cast. Benjamin Disraeli's Conservatives won the majority of seats in the House of Commons because they won a number of uncontested seats, it was the first Conservative victory in a general election since 1841. Gladstone's decision to call an election surprised his colleagues, for they were aware of large sectors of discontent in their coalition. For example, the nonconformists were upset with education policies; the Conservatives were making gains in the middle-class, Gladstone wanted to abolish the income tax, but failed to carry his own cabinet. The result was a disaster for the Liberals, who went from 387 MPs to only 242. Conservatives jumped from 271 to 350. For the first time the Irish Nationalists gained seats, returning 60. Gladstone himself noted: "We have been swept away in a torrent of gin and beer"; the election saw Irish nationalists in the Home Rule League become the first significant third party in Parliament.
This had been the first general election that used a secret ballot following the 1872 Secret Ballot Act. The Irish Nationalist gains could well be attributed to the effects of the Secret Ballot Act as tenants faced less of a threat of eviction if they voted against the wishes of their landlords; this is the only time since the introduction of the secret ballot that a party has been defeated despite receiving an absolute majority of the popular vote. This was because over 100 Conservative candidates were elected unopposed; this meant. The election saw 652 MPs elected: 6 fewer than at the prior election. Following allegations of corruption the Conservative held constituencies of Beverley and Sligo Borough, the Liberal held constituencies of Bridgwater and Cashel, had been abolished
Whigs (British political party)
The Whigs were a political faction and a political party in the parliaments of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Between the 1680s and 1850s, they contested power with the Tories; the Whigs' origin lay in constitutional opposition to absolute monarchy. The Whigs played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and were the standing enemies of the Stuart kings and pretenders, who were Roman Catholic; the Whigs took full control of the government in 1715 and remained dominant until King George III, coming to the throne in 1760, allowed Tories back in. The Whig Supremacy was enabled by the Hanoverian succession of George I in 1714 and the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 by Tory rebels; the Whigs purged the Tories from all major positions in government, the army, the Church of England, the legal profession and local offices. The Party's hold on power was so strong and durable, historians call the period from 1714 to 1783 the age of the Whig Oligarchy; the first great leader of the Whigs was Robert Walpole, who maintained control of the government through the period 1721–1742 and whose protégé Henry Pelham led from 1743 to 1754.
Both parties began as loose groupings or tendencies, but became quite formal by 1784 with the ascension of Charles James Fox as the leader of a reconstituted Whig Party, arrayed against the governing party of the new Tories under William Pitt the Younger. Both parties were founded on rich politicians more than on popular votes, there were elections to the House of Commons, but a small number of men controlled most of the voters; the Whig Party evolved during the 18th century. The Whig tendency supported the great aristocratic families, the Protestant Hanoverian succession and toleration for nonconformist Protestants, while some Tories supported the exiled Stuart royal family's claim to the throne and all Tories supported the established Church of England and the gentry. On, the Whigs drew support from the emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants, while the Tories drew support from the landed interests and the royal family. However, by the first half of the 19th century the Whig political programme came to encompass not only the supremacy of parliament over the monarch and support for free trade, but Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery and expansion of the franchise.
The 19th century Whig support for Catholic emancipation was a complete reversal of the party's historic anti-Catholic position at its late 17th century origin. The term "Whig" was short for "whiggamor", a term meaning "cattle driver" used to describe western Scots who came to Leith for corn. In the reign of Charles I the term was used during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms to refer derisively to a radical faction of the Scottish Covenanters who called themselves the "Kirk Party", it was applied to Scottish Presbyterian rebels who were against the King's Episcopalian order in Scotland. The term "Whig" entered English political discourse during the Exclusion Bill crisis of 1678–1681 when there was controversy about whether or not King Charles II's brother, should be allowed to succeed to the throne on Charles's death. "Whig" was a term of abuse applied to those who wanted to exclude James on the grounds that he was a Roman Catholic. The fervent Tory Samuel Johnson joked that "the first Whig was the Devil".
Under Lord Shaftesbury's leadership, the Whigs in the Parliament of England wished to exclude the Duke of York from the throne due to his Roman Catholicism, his favouring of monarchical absolutism, his connections to France. They believed the heir presumptive, if allowed to inherit the throne, would endanger the Protestant religion and property; the first Exclusion Bill was supported by a substantial majority on its second reading in May 1679. In response, King Charles prorogued Parliament and dissolved it, but the subsequent elections in August and September saw the Whigs' strength increase; this new parliament did not meet for thirteen months, because Charles wanted to give passions a chance to die down. When it met in October 1680, an Exclusion Bill was introduced and passed in the Commons without major resistance, but was rejected in the Lords. Charles dissolved Parliament in January 1681, but the Whigs did not suffer serious losses in the ensuing election; the next Parliament first met in March at Oxford, but Charles dissolved it after only a few days, when he made an appeal to the country against the Whigs and determined to rule without Parliament.
In February, Charles had made a deal with the French King Louis XIV, who promised to support him against the Whigs. Without Parliament, the Whigs crumbled due to government repression following the discovery of the Rye House Plot; the Whig peers, the Earl of Melville, the Earl of Leven, Lord Shaftesbury, Charles II's illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth, being implicated, fled to and regrouped in the United Provinces. Algernon Sidney, Sir Thomas Armstrong and William Russell, Lord Russell, were executed for treason; the Earl of Essex committed suicide in the Tower of London over his arrest for treason, whilst Lord Grey of Werke escaped from the Tower. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Queen Mary II and King William III governed with both Whigs and Tories, despite the fact that many of the Tories still supported the deposed Roman Catholic James II. William saw that the Tories were friendlier to royal authority than the Whigs and he employed both groups in his government, his early ministry was Tory, but the government came to be dominated by the so-called Junto Whig
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 313 Members of Parliament, has 249 members of the House of Lords, 18 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 12 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 8,916 local councillors; the Conservative Party was founded in 1834 from the Tory Party—the Conservatives' colloquial name is "Tories"—and was one of two dominant political parties in the nineteenth century, along with the Liberal Party. Under Benjamin Disraeli it played a preeminent role in politics at the height of the British Empire. In 1912, the Liberal Unionist Party merged with the party to form the Conservative and Unionist Party. In the 1920s, the Labour Party surpassed the Liberals as the Conservatives' main rivals. Conservative Prime Ministers — notably Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher — led governments for 57 years of the twentieth century.
Positioned on the centre-right of British politics, the Conservative Party is ideologically conservative. Different factions have dominated the party at different times, including One Nation Conservatives and liberal conservatives, while its views and policies have changed throughout its history; the party has adopted liberal economic policies—favouring free market economics, limiting state regulation, pursuing privatisation—although in the past has supported protectionism. The party is British unionist, opposing both Irish reunification and Welsh and Scottish independence, supported the maintenance of the British Empire; the party includes those with differing views on the European Union, with Eurosceptic and pro-European wings. In foreign policy, it is for a strong national defence; the Conservatives are a member of the International Democrat Union and the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe and sit with the European Conservatives and Reformists parliamentary group. The Scottish, Northern Irish and Gibraltan branches of the party are semi-autonomous.
Its support base consists of middle-class voters in rural areas of England, its domination of British politics throughout the twentieth century has led to it being referred to as one of the most successful political parties in the Western world. The Conservative Party was founded in the 1830s. However, some writers trace its origins to the reign of Charles II in the 1670s Exclusion Crisis. Other historians point to a faction, rooted in the 18th century Whig Party, that coalesced around William Pitt the Younger in the 1780s, they were known as "Independent Whigs", "Friends of Mr Pitt", or "Pittites" and never used terms such as "Tory" or "Conservative". Pitt died in 1806. From about 1812 on the name "Tory" was used for a new party that, according to historian Robert Blake, "are the ancestors of Conservatism". Blake adds that Pitt's successors after 1812 "were not in any sense standard-bearer's of true Toryism"; the term "Conservative" was suggested as a title for the party by a magazine article by J. Wilson Croker in the Quarterly Review in 1830.
The name caught on and was adopted under the aegis of Sir Robert Peel around 1834. Peel is acknowledged as the founder of the Conservative Party, which he created with the announcement of the Tamworth Manifesto; the term "Conservative Party" rather than Tory was the dominant usage by 1845. The widening of the electoral franchise in the nineteenth century forced the Conservative Party to popularise its approach under Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli, who carried through their own expansion of the franchise with the Reform Act of 1867. In 1886, the party formed an alliance with Spencer Compton Cavendish, Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain's new Liberal Unionist Party and, under the statesmen Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour, held power for all but three of the following twenty years before suffering a heavy defeat in 1906 when it split over the issue of free trade. Young Winston Churchill denounced Chamberlain's attack on free trade, helped organize the opposition inside the Unionist/Conservative Party.
Balfour, as party leader, followed Chamberlain's policy introduced protectionist legislation. The high tariff element called itself "Tariff Reformers" and in a major speech in Manchester on May 13, 1904, Churchill warned their takeover of the Unionist/Conservative party would permanently brand it as: A party of great vested interests, banded together in a formidable confederation. Two weeks Churchill crossed the floor and formally joined the Liberal Party. )He rejoined the Conservatives in 1925.) In December, Balfour lost control of his party, as the defections multiplied. He was replaced by Liberal Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman who called an election in January 1906, which produced a massive Liberal victory with a gain of 214 seats. Liberal Prime Minister H. H. Asquith enacted a great deal of reform legislation, but the Unionists worked hard at grassroots organizing. Two general elections were held in one in January and one in December; the two main parties were now dead equal in seats.
The Unionists had more popular votes but the Liberals kept control with a coalition with the Irish Parliamentary Party. In 1912, the Liberal Unionis