1922-24

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  • The Conservative Government, 1922-24
    • Chamberlain's Housing Act, 1923
      • Neville Chamberlain = minister of health
      • Housing subsidies would take the form of a central govt. grant, to be paid annually to local authorities over a 20-year period. Subsidy = £6 per property erected for council housing by private builders
    • Bonar Law retires
      • Retired in May 1923 after only 8 months in office due to throat cancer
        • Stanley Baldwin became PM - thought that the best way to reverse the recession and tackle unemployment was to return to a policy of protection
    • The 1923 election
      • Baldwin called a general election
        • Lloyd George rejoined the official Liberal Party - he and Asquith agreed to ignore their differences and reunite their supporters in a single party with free trade as their rallying cry
      • Election results: Cons - 258 seats, 38.1% of the vote, Labour - 191 seats, 30.5%, Liberals - 159 seats, 29.6%
        • Cons. became the single largest party, but their decline from an overall majority of 75 to a minority of 100 could be read as a rejection of Tariff Reform
        • The Liberals increased their strength from 116 to 159 seats between the 1922 and 1923 general elections, but still remained only the third-largest party
    • Following a defeat on a confidence vote in the Commons, Baldwin resigned in January 1924.
      • Since the Lib and Cons parties had fought the election on opposite sides over protection, a coalition between them was out of the question
        • Labour was entitled to take office as the larger opposition party, despite lacking an overall majority
          • Reasons for Labour winning over the Liberals
            • Liberal decline
              • Split between DLG and Asquith created a split in party that couldn't be healed
              • Formal reunification between DLG and Asquith was an unconvincing affair. DLG kept his own party premises and staff, and both DLG and Asq. remained suspicious, if respectful, of each other
                • Disunity resulted in Libs never holding office again in their own right
              • Conscription in WW1 destroyed belief of freedom of the individual - govt. measures too restrictive
              • Liberalism lost its moral authority
              • Liberals had legislated themselves out of existence
                • Impressive pre-1914 record, but limited in how far they could change the roots of society. Radical but not revolutionary.
              • Strapped for cash. Cons. had funds from businesses, Lab from trade unions
              • Before 1914 the Libs had always been able to rely on the parliamentary support of the Irish Nationalists. This was no longer available after Sinn Fein boycotted the HoC in 1918 and Home Rule for S.Ireland was implemented in 1922
              • Long period in office since 1905 = distinct decline in enthusiasm
              • Party was unable to spread its popular support in such a way as to win key marginal seats. Knowing that the Libs were unlikely to win an election, the party's supporters began to ebb away.
            • Labour's rise
              • Working class voters defected from Libs to more radical Lab Party
              • Strong TU links - sound financial base
              • Good war record - played major role in patriotic war effort. This dispelled fears that it would be an unreliable defender of British interests.
              • Its senior politicians had gained experience as Cabinet ministers in the Coalition governments - showed that Lab was as capable of govt. as any other party
              • Improved its constituency organisation during war + set out its programme in 1918 Labour Party Constitution
              • Young party = freshness and enthusiasm. Established parties found this hard to match.

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