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'It was the Conservatives who lost the election of 1906, not the Liberals who won it.' Discuss.

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Introduction

It was the Conservatives who lost the election of 1906, not the Liberals who won it. In the 1906 elections, the Liberals came away with a landslide victory over the Conservatives. This was surprising because the Conservatives had been in power for 10 years with no sign of weakness. There are mixed reasons why the Conservatives lost votes but the Liberals also gained support during the period leading up to the election. I agree with the statement. Between 1886 and 1906 there was little competition from the Liberals to limit the Conservative success in government. Liberal ideas were outdated and the party unorganised. The Conservatives had new ideas to pull voters and were well organised thanks to Middleton and Akers-Douglas. ...read more.

Middle

He never married which was seen as strange at the time and employed members of his own family. He lost any support from the working classes that Salisbury had managed to gain by only appointing lords into the cabinet. Balfour closely supported the 1902 education act. Because of this, many people blamed him for the consequences. Non-Conformists in England defected back to the liberal party when it was announced that the government would fund Church of England schools. The Non-Conformists were offended by this and laid the blame directly on Balfour. He was also blamed for the Tariff Reforms, which were disliked by the working classes. They knew that higher taxes on food would mean that they paid more. The Conservative Party was divided over the policy. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the same area, the Boer war was splitting the Conservatives. The public blamed the government for the hard war in which many people died. The war united the Liberal party in their hate of the war. Item 1 supports the idea that it was Conservative weakness rather than Liberal strength that turned the tide of voting. The huge increase in Labour and other party votes suggests that people defected from the Conservative party in favour of a mixture of parties but the Liberals were the largest and so got in. The percentage of Liberal votes didn't increase greatly but it was enough to change the government. The Conservative downfall was the reason of Liberal success. The Liberal party didn't really come up with any new policies or schemes to pull voters, but instead made sure that they disagreed with most of the new Conservative ideas to the extent that people turned to them to avoid the new policies. ...read more.

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