Breadth Study 2

Crown and aristocratic influence on elections c178

  • George III came to the throne in 1760, his predecessors left the government in the hnads of their Whig ministers, but George III wanted to play an active role in government 
  • the 1760s were politically unstable due to the king ignoring the views of parliament by appointing ministers who could not claim the support of HOC
  • in the late 18th century, the HOL and HOC had very similar social compositions
  • most of the aristocracy were very large land owners, and withland came wealth and influence
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Declining Royal influence over the HOC

  • economic reform had reduced the Crown's influence over the HOC, placing William IV in a less fortunate position than George III
  • Victoria had strong personal views on her ministers, but never expressed her opinions openly
  • George V privately opposed the Irish Home Rule because he believed that it would lead to civil war in Ireland, and he considered applying to royal veto measure
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Declining aristocratic influence over HOC

  • aristocratic influence strengthened in some areas- in the counties, the increased number of seats strengthened the aristicracy's control over elections and the choices of MPs
  • a fifth of MPs elected in 1841 came from the middle classes, almost the same proportion as before 1832, with over 70% of MPs related to peers or to the country gentry- these numbers barely changed in the years to 1867
  • by 1928, aristocratic influences had all but disappeared
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Party organisation and membership

  • prospects fro the Tories looked gloomy after 1831- they only secured 150 seats in the election, and had few policies to offer the new electorate. Party organisation was poor, both nationally and locally
  • the Whigs and their allies showed little interest at first in matching the Tories' organisation
  • in 1832-41 there were no fewer than four general elections, which coincided with the creation of a new electorate and a growing politcal consciousness among voters
  • in 1841 the role of the monarch was insignificant for the first time- Victoria favoured Melbourne, but electors had taken the choice of appointing a government out of her hand
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Change of social make-up of the HOC by 1928

  • parliament in 1780 was dominated by the landed interest, and around one fifth of all MPs were the sons or brothers of peers
  • between 1832 and 1867, the social make-up of the HOC barely changed at all
  • women had begun to play a significant role in local politics following the passage of the Local Government Act 1894, which allowed women to be elected onto local bodies such as parish and district councils
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Payment of MPs, 1911

  • in August 1911, the HOC aproved a resolution from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lloyd George, for paying ordinary MPs (but not government ministers) a sum of £400 a year
  • this allowed men who could never have otherwise had a politcal career to have one
  • a contributer to the Labour Party, which had 191 MPs by 1924
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