- Created by: oanderton
- Created on: 31-08-20 16:47
Key issue of the election: free trade.
Conservatives: Pro-Tarriff Reform
Labour: Pro-free trade
Liberals: Pro-free trade.
Election was significant as it saw Labour rise as the 2nd largest party.
Labour established themselves as a possible party of government and as the new alternative to the Conservatives.
This election also solidified the Liberal decline, as they had been overtaken.
- October 1922: Bonar law becomes Prime Minister after Lloyd George's resignation.
- November 1922: General election gives the Conservatives an overall majority.
- Sees Labour increases its seats.
- May 1923: Bonar Law is too ill to continue, Baldwin chosen as his successor
- December 1923: Another election held.
- Labour's seats rise to 191
- Liberals win 158
- Conservatives win 258
- January 1924: Baldwin defeated in the Commons, Labour takes office.
Why Was an Election Called?
- No real need for Baldwin to call an election
- Baldwin wasn't elected in. He called an election to give the public a chance to confirm their approval of him as national leader.
Issue of Import Duties
- Felt the only way to tackle unemployment was to increase duties on imported goods.
- Could have been done under the 1921 Safeguarding of Industries Act
- Labour and Liberals strongly against import duties.
- Conservatives divided
- Eection would give Baldwin the backing he needed
The Issue of Free Trade
- Supported free trade.
- Keep imports cheap to help the workers and provide a strong home market.
- Provide cheap food for the working class.
- Conservatives saw import taxes as vital.
- To protect British industry when there were falling exports and competition from abroad
- Would strengthen Britain's links with the empire.
- Free trade was associated with international peace.
- Free trade had become a moral issue.
- Seemed selfish to restrict world trade for the good of British industry
Result of 1923 Election
- Baldwin and the Conservatives won the election
- Combined strength of their opponents could and did bring them down
- Liberals managed 158 seats despite damaging splits, campaigned vigorously for free trade.
- Surprise was the growth of Labour, confirmation of its emergence as the 2nd largest party
- Had adopted an explicit socialist constitution in 1918.
- MacDonald was far from wanting to implement this
- Has an alliance with the Liberals before WWI
- Shared their views on free trade and reform
- Had supported their policies before the war
- Able to gain their support for a coalition in 1924
- Had cabinet experience in 1916 Coalition
Consequences of 1923 Election
Had enormous consequences
- Gave Labour the means to take office
- Proved the undoing of the Liberals
- Brought Labour down within months
- In the 1924 election the electorate faced more of a straight choice
- Voters seemed reluctant to offer the Liberals the chance for any more power broking.
- Labour established itself as as a possible party of government.
- Made people see it as the real alternative to the Conservatives.
- 2 party system reasserted itself
- Liberals were marginalised.
- Issue of free trade was never again dominant.
This election saw Labour rise and establish themselves as a possible party of government and the new alternative to the Conservative party.
This election solidified the Liberal decline, as they had now been overtaken.