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By Stephen J. Lee

HIST ninety eight brief blurb this article examines all of the significant subject matters, personalities and problems with this crucial interval in a transparent and digestible shape. Illustrated with with beneficial maps, charts and diagrams. facets of British Political heritage 1914-1995 examines the entire significant subject matters, personalities and problems with this significant interval in a transparent and digestible shape. It: introduces clean angles to long-studied issues; consolidates an excellent physique of modern study; analyzes perspectives of other historians; deals an interpretive instead of narrative technique; offers concise therapy to complicated matters; is without delay appropriate to scholar questions and classes; is punctiliously organised to mirror the way in which lecturers take on those classes; and is illustrated with beneficial maps, charts, illustrations and pictures.

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What happened was that Labour contested far more seats than ever before and, while not actually winning many more at this stage, split the vote which had previously gone to the Liberals so as to hand seats to the Conservatives. In other words, the 1918 election saw the reversal of the electoral pact of 1903 which, throughout the period before 1910, ASPECTS OF BRITISH POLITICAL HISTORY 1914–1995 47 prevented such a split and gave the Liberals a clear run against the Conservatives. By 1918, therefore, the Liberal party had shrunk alarmingly.

The real change, however, occurred in the general election of 1918 when, for the first time in their history, they became, with 163 seats, the third largest party in the Commons. In 1922 the situation deteriorated even further as they shrank to 115 seats. A temporary recovery occurred in 1923 when the Liberals secured 158 seats but they slumped in 1924 to 40. They never again succeeded in reaching three figures, winning 59 seats in 1929, 37 in 1931 and 21 in 1935. Another collapse took place in 1945, the year of the Labour landslide, when the Liberals won only 12 seats.

There were also major disagreements over key issues such as the introduction of conscription, which Asquith opposed. The strength of feeling was such that Asquith was forced in 1916 to resign. His replacement by Lloyd George did not, however, restore harmony to the Liberal party. Asquith retained a large following outside the government, so that Lloyd George had to staff 42 THE DECLINE OF THE LIBERAL PARTY 1914–40 his War Cabinet mainly with Conservatives such as Bonar Law, Milner and Curzon. Asquith remained Liberal leader and, as such, retained control of the party machinery.

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