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Account for the Liberal landslide in the 1906 General Election

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Account for the Liberal landslide in the 1906 General Election In the 1906 general election the Liberals gained 377 (plus 22 Lib-Lab) seats, the Conservative Unionists gained 157 (132 were Tariff Reformers), Labour Representation Committee gained 29 and the Irish Nationalists gained 83 seats. This even know was the biggest defeat a Conservative Party has suffered (they lost by 220 seats.) What made this defeat even more noticeable was the fact that they had won 245 less seats than in 1900 and even the former Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour, lost his seat. These facts start to ask another question, was it more a great victory for the Liberals or a humiliating defeat for the Conservatives. There is a lot of evidence to suggest it was a humiliating defeat for the Conservatives. The Conservatives had been in power for the last two decades and so did people just wanted a change? Was it the fact that the Conservative Party had been split over Tariff reform? Or was it the fact that the public felt lied to over the Boer war? ...read more.


Free Trade was something the whole party seemed agree on and help rectify the split in the party caused by Irish home Rule. The Liberals made the Conservatives look distant from what the average working person in Briton at that time wanted and it seemed the Tory party wanted the rich to become richer and the working classes to become poorer. Whereas Free Trade that the Liberals where pushing kept thing's the same and people at the time where happy with the way the country was going although they may not have realised that the imports where increasing and exports where decreasing. Tariff Reform may have been a major reason for the demise of the Conservatives but the where over reasons for their demise such as their unpopularity. This unpopularity was mainly caused by the four following points. By the time of the 1904 general election the Boer War had been over for two years but four years earlier in the 1900 general elections the conservative government claimed it was very close to success. ...read more.


Many nonconformists refused to pay the rates. In 1903 a secret electoral pact was created between the Liberals and the LRC. The LRC agreed not to put candidates against Liberal candidates. This meant that the anti-Unionist would not be split and that the Liberal party would have access to �100,000 pounds of the LRC electoral funds which was much needed at the time as funds where running short in the Liberal Party. I conclude that the Tory Party must have being expecting defeat due to the amount of mistakes they had made. Political trickery which lead the public to lose confidence and not trust the government also due to pendulum politics it was time for a change (people get bored with governments and look for a change). These are not the main reasons why the government would have been expecting defeat, the separation in to two groups left the party with no real policies. So in my opinion the Liberals where just in the right place at the right time and it was conservative mistakes such as losing most of the working class vote and situations which lead to there humiliating defeat and not a Liberal landslide. ...read more.

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