By Chris Cook (auth.)
Chris prepare dinner lifts the lid at the 'third Party;' charting their interesting trip over the past century, from the landslide victory of 1906 less than 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 executive within the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.
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Extra info for A Short History of the Liberal Party: The Road Back to Power
North of the border, no Labour candidate enjoyed a straight ﬁght against a Conservative. In ten constituencies, three-cornered contests occurred. Signiﬁcantly, in these ten contests, while Labour only won two, the Liberals forfeited six seats they might otherwise have won. Outside Scotland, however, in only ﬁve constituencies did Liberals contest recognised Labour seats, with Labour taking four of them nonetheless. It was a tribute to the working of the pact that in only two constituencies were Liberal seats lost as a result of Labour candidates.
The elevation of Churchill to the Presidency of the Board of Trade necessitated a by-election in Manchester North West. When polling took place on 24 April, Churchill lost the seat to the Conservatives by 29 votes. Churchill had subsequently to be moved to the safer territory of Dundee, where he was returned to Westminster on 9 May despite Conservative and Labour opposition. The result in Manchester North West, if the 46 A Short History of the Liberal Party most dramatic, was not isolated. Of the 15 Liberal-held seats which saw by-elections in 1908, the Liberals retained only nine.
Its social composition was preponderantly middle-aged men from the commercial and professional middle class. 2 Compared with the Conservative opposition, the relative strength of barristers, solicitors, writers and businessmen was greater in the Liberal Party. The ofﬁcers and country gentlemen were less numerous than in the Conservative opposition. The Liberals were still not a party catering to any signiﬁcant degree to the parliamentary ambitions of working men: on the contrary, 125 of the 377 Liberals were public-school educated, 135 had attended Oxford or Cambridge and more than one in four were men of great wealth.