The Conservative Party under Bonar Law deserves the blame for the crisis over the Third Home Rule Bill in the period up to September 1914. How far would you accept this verdict?

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“The Conservative Party under Bonar Law deserves the blame for the crisis over the Third Home Rule Bill in the period up to September 1914.” How far would you accept this verdict? Use relevant evidence you have studied including contemporary and later interpretations to support your answer.

Many believe that Bonar Law and the Conservatives were solely responsible for the crisis over the Home Rule Bill due to the way in which they exacerbated the situation by lending their political credibility to the unionist cause. However, it is always impossible to blame an entire situation on one group. The Liberals' ignorance of Ulster played a significant role in preventing the crisis from being solved by September 1914, not to mention the growing paramilitary presence in Ireland and the lack of compromise between nationalists and unionists.

        The Conservatives, led by Bonar Law, were in disarray after losing 3 general elections from 1912 to 1914 and seeing their stronghold in the House of Lords weakened by the 1911 Parliament Act. Home Rule was one of the few issues on which they agreed on,  yet it seems this was due to an ulterior motive. Regarding their leader's intentions, Adams believes that his main desire was to "bring an election on the question of Home Rule”, as he believed the Conservatives could eject the unprepared Liberals from office. Exploiting the situation in Ireland to gain politically in England suggests the Conservatives intensified the crisis, thus making them accountable for it.

        The new style of approach the Conservatives took and how, according to Churchill, they played the “Orange Card” brought Britain to the brink of civil war. For example, at Blenheim Place in July 1912, Bonar Law threatened the use of force to wreck Home Rule. This new method of verbal menace, military disaffection and pressure on the King to intervene certainly heated the political atmosphere of the period 1911-1914 by whipping Unionists up into a frenzy with rhetoric. Therefore the Tories are partly responsible for why the crisis was yet to be solved by September 1914.

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        470,000 men signing the Ulster Covenant in September 1912 highlighted how Ulster Unionists weren't afraid of "using all means" to resist Home Rule. Despite priding themselves on upholding the law, the Conservatives gave their support.  Their new leader, Bonar Law was determined to push the boundaries of constitutional politics to prevent Home Rule and attacked it by calling it a "corrupt parliamentary bargain" between Redmond and Asquith - the price of the Liberals remaining in power. The involvement of an influential and well respected party boosted unionist propaganda across Great Britain and made Ulster a high profile issue in British politics. ...

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