By Chris Cook

ISBN-10: 0333373243

ISBN-13: 9780333373248

ISBN-10: 1349173428

ISBN-13: 9781349173426

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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. In all, 29 LRC representatives were elected and almost all were dependent on Liberal votes. With the Liberal election triumph, the almost unrelieved Conservative massacre, and the harmonious working of the Gladstone-MacDonald pact, 1906 saw the Liberal Party at its zenith.

In many respects, the defeat of 1886 marked a divide in the evolution ofthe party. Despite the loss of office, political Liberalism from 1886 to 1892 was far from static and far from demoralised. 4 A steady tide of by-election successes from 1886 to 1891, and very clear signs that the Conservative-Liberal Unionist alliance was a troubled one, gave hope to Gladstonians that they would soon see the victory of their cause. The party, however, could not afford to stand still and wait. The 1886 defeat implied the need to develop appeals that went beyond the 4 Hopes of a reconciliation in the party collapsed with the failure of the 1887 Round Table Conference.

Bealey, 'Negotiations between the Liberal Party and the Labour Representation Committee before the General Election of 1906', Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, XXIX (1956) 269 f. 37 The Liberals in Opposition: 1900-1906 entente, causing some rival by-election candidates. Thus in the Barnard Castle contest inJuly 1903, the local Liberal association refused to allow Arthur Henderson, the LRC candidate, a straight fight with the Conservative. Despite pressure from Headquarters, a Liberal candidate was fielded, although Henderson subsequently went on to win by 47 votes over the Conservative, with the Liberal a poor third.

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A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900–1984 by Chris Cook


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