The 'Coupon Election' and Politics after 1918

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The 'Coupon Election'

  • Main idea was 'homes fit for heroes'
  • 'We are at a turning point in our national history, we cannot return to the old ways, the old abuses, the old stupidities...We stand at the bar of history for judgement, and we shall be judged by the use we make of this unique opportunity'
  • Offered to make Asquith the Chancellor but Asquith refused the offer
  • 150 Liberals supported DLG but he still continued the coalition, although Labour withdrew
  • Cons. happy to continue the coalition, not confident in themselves
  • Much more difficult to achieve harmony, coalition had no coherent policy and found it difficult to do anything effective
  • However, the Coalition had lots of confidence
  • Only 2.7 mil of 3.9 mil servicemen recieved ballot papers, making turn out at 59%, the lowest of the century
  • Due to RoPA, total votes cast doubled
  • The campaign was fairly low key, The Times-'the most orderly campaign of our time'
  • DLG dominated, Liberal colleague said, 'there has never been an election like this in its one man nature'
  • Historians say it was effectively a plebiscite on DLG. If it had been so, the coalition would have lost as they had fewer votes for them than against but due to the FPTP system, the coalition got a massive majority, winning 478 seats
  • Those endorsed by the 'coupon' (a signed letter from DLG and ABL) had an 88% success rate
  • Due to Sinn Fein abstaining, the majority was effectively 322 seats
  • Leadin figures who lost their seats: Asquith, Henderson, JRM and Snowden
  • Cons. dominated the coalition and in fact could have formed a gov't. alone


  • 'The Man who won the War'
  • 'A Prime Minister without a party'


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