New Liberalism: What the House of Lords was like in 1906

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  • Contained 591 members known as 'peers of the realm'
  • 561 of which inherited their seats
  • The remaining 30 were: 4 Law Lords, 2 Archbishops, 24 Bishops
  • 2/3 of the peers were conservatives (rest were liberals) so had the majority
  • New peers could be created by the sovereign on advice of Prime Minister
  • In theory Lords and Commons should be equal
  • Traditions developed that:
    • All Bills dealing with finance and taxation started in the Commons
    • The House of Lords didn't reject finance Bills
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Causes of Disputes

  • Lords could change Bills radically and prevent laws passing
  • The House of Lords was permanently Conservative so rejected Liberal Bills
  • Liberals were prevented from carrying out their policies: Democracy was denied
  • The confrontation built up
  • 1906: House of Lords rejected 2 of Campbell-Bannerman's most important Bills
  • Education Bill and Plural Voting Bill (stop people voting more than once)
  • Next year rejected 2 more and changed 2 so were worthless
  • 1908: Rejected Licensing Bill although Edward VII said it was good as reducing public houses
  • Balfour and Lord Lansdowne were making blatant use of the Lord's power to protect own interests: Balfour's Poodle
  • Asquith disguised Old Age Pensions as finance allowing them to be passed
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Causes of Disputes: Lloyd George's Budget

  • 1909: Lords broke tradition as rejected Lloyd George's entire budget
    • Designed to raise extra £15 million to pay for pensions, labour exchanges and Dreadnoughts
  • Wealthy were to foot the Bill:
    • Income tax from 1s to 1s2d in the pound on incomes over £3000
    • Supertax of 6d in pound for incomes over £5000
    • Higher taxes on tobacco and spirits; whiskey went from 3s6d to 4s
    • Higher charges on liquor licences
    • Taxes on petrol and cars
    • Taxes on mining royalties
    • 20% tax on increased value of land when resold
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Causes of Disputes: Lloyd George's Budget

  • Budget debated from April to November in Commons
  • Conservatives formed Budget Protest League as claimed it was a deliberate attack on the wealthy, thought it was the beginning of socialism
  • Duke of Beaufort: He would like to 'see Lloyd George and Churchill in the middle of twenty couple of foxhound'
  • Lloyd George accused landlords of being selfish creatures: 'the stately consumption of wealth produced by others'
  • November 1909: Budget passed with 379 to 149 however the Lords still rejected it, even though Edward VII was anxious to pass it
  • Lord Landsdowne (Conservative leader) justified saying revolutionary should be put infront of public in a General Election
  • Balfour: 'Lords were merely carrying out their proper function as watchdogs of the constitution'
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Causes of Disputes: Lloyd George's Budget

  • Suggested Lloyd George deliberately produced Budget to trap the Lords into rejecting
  • This would allow the Liberals to restrict their powers
  • It was cleverly framed to embarrass Conservatives:
    • If didn't oppose = Landowners furious
    • If did oppose = Shows selfishness
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