Liberal Unionist Party
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

The Liberal Unionist Party was a British political party that was formed in 1886 by a faction that broke away from the
Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics ...
. Led by Lord Hartington (later the Duke of Devonshire) and
Joseph Chamberlain Joseph Chamberlain (8 July 1836 – 2 July 1914) was a British statesman who was first a radical Liberal Party (UK), Liberal, then a Liberal Unionist after opposing home rule for Ireland, and eventually served as a leading New Imperialism, i ...
, the party established a political alliance with the Conservative Party in opposition to
Irish Home Rule The Irish Home Rule movement was a movement that campaigned for Devolution, self-government (or "home rule") for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was the dominant political movement of Irish nationalism from 1 ...
. The two parties formed the ten-year-long coalition Unionist Government 1895–1905 but kept separate political funds and their own party organisations until a complete merger between the Liberal Unionist and the Conservative parties was agreed to in May 1912.Ian Cawood, ''The Liberal Unionist Party: A History'' (2012)


History


Formation

The Liberal Unionists owe their origins to the conversion of
William Ewart Gladstone William Ewart Gladstone ( ; 29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British statesman and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal politician. In a career lasting over 60 years, he served for 12 years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread ...
to the cause of Irish Home Rule (i.e. limited self-government for Ireland). The 1885 general election had left
Charles Stewart Parnell Charles Stewart Parnell (27 June 1846 – 6 October 1891) was an Irish nationalist politician who served as a Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) from 1875 to 1891, also acting as Leader of the Home Rule League fr ...
's Irish
Nationalists Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
holding the balance of power, and had convinced Gladstone that the Irish wanted and deserved instatement of Home Rule for Ireland and so reform the 85 years of union. Some Liberals believed that Gladstone's
Home Rule bill The Irish Home Rule movement was a movement that campaigned for Devolution, self-government (or "home rule") for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was the dominant political movement of Irish nationalism from 1 ...
would lead to independence for Ireland and the dissolution of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state in the British Isles that existed between 1801 and 1922, when it included all of Ireland. It was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the Kingdom of Great B ...
, which they could not countenance. Seeing themselves as defenders of the Union, they called themselves "Liberal Unionists", although at this stage most of them did not think the split from their former colleagues would be permanent. Gladstone preferred to call them "dissentient Liberals" as if he believed they would eventually come back like the "
Adullamites The Adullamites were a short-lived anti-reform faction within the Liberal Party (UK), UK Liberal Party in 1866. The name is based on a Bible, biblical reference to the cave of Adullam where David and his allies sought refuge from Saul. After th ...
", Liberals who had opposed the extension of the franchise in 1866 but had mostly come back to the main party after the Conservatives had passed their own electoral reform bill in 1867. In the end it did not matter what the Liberal Unionists were called, the schism in the Liberal party grew wider and deeper within a few years. The majority of Liberal Unionists, including Hartington, Lord Lansdowne, and George Goschen, were drawn from the Whig faction of the party and had been expected to split from the Liberal Party anyway, for reasons connected with economic and social policy. Some of the Unionists held extensive landed estates in Ireland and feared these would be broken up or confiscated if Ireland had its own government, while Hartington had suffered a personal loss at the hands of Irish Nationalists in 1882 when his brother was killed during the
Phoenix Park Murders The Phoenix Park Murders were the fatal stabbings of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Henry Burke (civil servant), Thomas Henry Burke in Phoenix Park, Dublin, British rule in Ireland, Ireland, on 6 May 1882. Cavendish was the newly appoint ...
. The anti-Home Rule Liberals formed a Committee for the Preservation of the Union in early 1886, and were soon joined by a smaller radical faction led by
Joseph Chamberlain Joseph Chamberlain (8 July 1836 – 2 July 1914) was a British statesman who was first a radical Liberal Party (UK), Liberal, then a Liberal Unionist after opposing home rule for Ireland, and eventually served as a leading New Imperialism, i ...
and
John Bright John Bright (16 November 1811 – 27 March 1889) was a British Radicals (UK), Radical and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal statesman, one of the greatest orators of his generation and a promoter of free trade policies. A Quaker, Bright is mos ...
. Chamberlain had briefly taken office in the Gladstone government which had been formed in 1886 but resigned when he saw the details of Gladstone's Home Rule plans. As Chamberlain had previously been a standard bearer of radical liberalism against the Whigs, his adherence to the alliance against the Gladstonian Liberals came as a surprise. When the dissident Liberals eventually formed the Liberal Unionist Council, which was to become the Liberal Unionist party, Chamberlain organised the separate National Radical Union in Birmingham. This allowed Chamberlain and his immediate allies to distance themselves from the main body of Liberal Unionism (and their Conservative allies) and left open the possibility that they could work with the Liberal party in the future. In 1889 the National Radical Union changed its name to the National Liberal Union and remained a separate organisation from the main Liberal Unionist Council. Historian R.C.K. Ensor reports that after 1886, Gladstone's main Liberal Party was deserted by practically the entire Whig peerage and the great majority of the upper-class and upper-middle-class Liberals. Gentlemen's clubs that had a Liberal base were deeply split. Ensor notes that "London society, following the known views of the Queen, practically ostracized home rulers". Chamberlain used anti-Catholicism to build a base for the new party among "Orange" Nonconformist Protestant elements in Britain and Ireland.
John Bright John Bright (16 November 1811 – 27 March 1889) was a British Radicals (UK), Radical and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal statesman, one of the greatest orators of his generation and a promoter of free trade policies. A Quaker, Bright is mos ...
popularised the catchy slogan, " Home rule means Rome rule."


Break with the Liberals

The 1886 election left the Conservatives as the largest party in the House of Commons, but without an overall majority. The leading Liberal Unionists were invited to join the Conservative
Lord Salisbury Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (; 3 February 183022 August 1903) was a British statesman and Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom three times for a ...
's government. Salisbury said he was even willing to let Hartington become Prime Minister of a coalition ministry but the latter declined. In part, Hartington was worried this would split the Liberal Unionists and lose them votes from pro-Unionist Liberal supporters. The Liberal Unionists, despite providing the necessary margin for Salisbury's majority, continued to sit on the opposition benches throughout the life of the parliament, and Hartington and Chamberlain uneasily shared the opposition Front Bench with their former colleagues Gladstone and Harcourt. In December 1886, when
Lord Randolph Churchill Lord Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill (13 February 1849 – 24 January 1895) was a British statesman. Churchill was a Tory A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy known as Toryism, based on a British version of Traditionali ...
suddenly resigned as
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Ch ...
, Salisbury offered the position to Goschen, by far the most conservative of the leading Liberal Unionists. After consulting Hartington, Goschen agreed to join the Conservative government and remained Chancellor for the next six years.


The Unionist Coalition

While the Whiggish wing of the Liberal Unionists cooperated informally with the Conservative Government (and supplied it with a cabinet minister), the party's Radical Unionist wing held a series of meetings with their former Liberal colleagues. Led by Chamberlain and Sir George Trevelyan, the Round Table Conference was an attempt to see if reunion of the Liberal party was possible. Despite some progress (and Chamberlain's statement that they were united on ninety-nine out of a hundred issues), the problem of Home Rule for Ireland could not be resolved. Neither Hartington nor Gladstone took a direct part in these meetings, and there seemed to be no other Liberal statesman who could reunite the party. Within a few months the talks were over, though some Liberal Unionists, including Trevelyan, later rejoined the Liberal Party soon after. The failed talks of 1887 forced the Liberal Unionists to continue to develop their links with the Conservatives. In Parliament, they supported the Salisbury administration, though they sat on the opposition benches alongside the Liberals. Hostile feelings between the former political colleagues hardened with the return of Gladstone as Prime Minister, following the 1892 general election. Forming a minority government (with Irish Nationalist parliamentary support), the Liberals introduced the second Home Rule bill. Leading the opposition to the Bill were Hartington (now the Duke of Devonshire) and Chamberlain. The Bill was defeated in the House of Lords by a massive majority of Conservative and Liberal Unionist peers. By now all chance of a reunion between the Liberals and Liberal Unionists had disappeared, and it was no great surprise when leading Liberal Unionists joined Salisbury's new administration in 1895 following the heavy electoral defeat inflicted on the Liberal party. The resulting government was generally referred to as "Unionist", and the distinction between Conservatives and Liberal Unionists began to dissolve, though the latter were still able to field around 100 candidates for all the subsequent general elections until the December 1910 general election when that total dropped to 75.Ferris, Wesley (2011). "The Candidates of the Liberal Unionist Party, 1886–1912". Parliamentary History. 30# 2: 142–157. doi:10.1111/j.1750-0206.2011.00246.x. Though a few Liberal Unionists like Goschen formally joined the Conservatives (by becoming member of the exclusively Tory
Carlton Club The Carlton Club is a Gentlemen's club, private members' club in St James's, London. It was the original home of the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party before the creation of Conservative Campaign Headquarters, Conservative Central Of ...
), the party still continued to maintain a separate identity and to raise their own funds. Their strength in the House of Commons fell from 78 seats in 1886 to 47 in 1892 but recovered to 71 and then 68 in the general elections of
1895 Events January–March * January 5 – Dreyfus affair: French officer Alfred Dreyfus is stripped of his army rank, and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island. * January 12 – The National Trust for Places of Histor ...
and
1900 As of March 1 (Old Style, O.S. February 17), when the Julian calendar acknowledged a leap day and the Gregorian calendar did not, the Julian calendar fell one day further behind, bringing the difference to 13 days until February 28 (Old Style, ...
. The Liberal Unionists managed to stay strong in the south-west of England, the West Midlands (the centre of Chamberlain's power base), and especially in Scotland, where the Liberal Unionists were initially the more dominant group in their alliance with the Scottish Conservatives against the Liberals.


Protectionism vs Free trade

From the start, there was tension within the Liberal Unionists between the moderate Whigs, such as Devonshire, and the more radical Chamberlainites. While both factions opposed Home Rule, there was little else that united them, and a separate Liberal Unionist identity was hard to define in the politics of the late 1890s. Weak local party associations were encouraged to amalgamate with their Conservative allies, though Devonshire's wish to merge fully was rejected by Chamberlain. Despite these tensions, the Liberal Unionists more or less managed to stay together until 1903, when in a surprise move, Chamberlain dramatically launched tariff reform with a speech in his Birmingham political homeland. This departure from
Free Trade Free trade is a trade policy that does not restrict imports or exports. It can also be understood as the free market idea applied to international trade. In government, free trade is predominantly advocated by political parties that hold Econo ...
(i.e. no tariff barriers) caused immediate problems within the Unionist alliance, but especially with the Devonshire section of the Liberal Unionists. Rejecting tariff reform, Devonshire and other supporters of Free Trade left the Liberal Unionist Association in May 1904 in protest. Chamberlain took over the party's leadership, but this did not stop a large number of disgruntled Liberal Unionists, including a few MPs, migrating back to the Liberal party. As for Devonshire and his allies, they put their political efforts into the Unionist Free Trade League (also called the Free Food League) which included a sizeable minority of Conservative
Members of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative in parliament of the people who live in their electoral district. In many countries with Bicameralism, bicameral parliaments, this term refers only to members of the lower house since upper house ...
(MPs) (and, for a few months, Conservative MP
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 Winston Churchill in the Second World War, dur ...
before he too defected to the Liberals in 1904). Most of them eventually left the party while Devonshire ended his political career estranged from both main parties and appears to have sat in the House of Lords as a
crossbencher A crossbencher is an independent or minor party member of some legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They ...
. In the 1906 general election, the Liberal Unionists (both Free Traders and Tariff Reformers) shared the same fate as their Conservative allies, with a big reduction in their parliamentary strength. They now numbered only 23 MPs (or 25 according to other calculations) in a combined Unionist alliance of just 157 in the new House of Commons – though in Birmingham the Liberal Unionist and Conservative candidates won all the seats available. With a few exceptions, the remaining Liberal Unionists were now firm supporters of tariffs, as were now the majority of the Conservative MPs. Indeed, for a short period in early 1906, Chamberlain was the de facto leader of the Unionist alliance in the House of Commons, as the Conservative party leader, and former Prime Minister,
Arthur Balfour Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, (, ; 25 July 184819 March 1930), also known as Lord Balfour, was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdo ...
had lost his seat in the election (though he soon managed to return to parliament after a conveniently-arranged by-election). It was possible that at this stage Chamberlain could have become leader of all the surviving Unionists (at least all those in favour of tariff reform) and force Balfour to resign. However, even protectionist Tories were reluctant to choose Chamberlain as their leader, not having forgotten how, as a Liberal, in the 1880s, he had been one of their sternest critics. Also, in an age when religious identification still mattered, Chamberlain was not a member of the established
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
but belonged to the minority Unitarians. Chamberlain could, perhaps, have led the Unionists despite these drawbacks, but in July 1906 he suffered a stroke, which left him physically crippled. He remained semi-politically active and continued as the official leader of the Liberal Unionists, but his son
Austen Chamberlain Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain (16 October 1863 – 16 March 1937) was a British wikt:statesman, statesman, son of Joseph Chamberlain and older half-brother of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer (twice) ...
and Lansdowne effectively acted on his behalf in both the party and the Tariff Reform League. Devonshire died in 1908 but, despite the loss of the party's two most famous standard bearers, the Liberal Unionists were still able to increase their parliamentary representation in the two 1910 general elections to 32 and then 36 MPs., though recent research suggests this an underestimate of Liberal Unionist MPs and the numbers elected in the two general elections 1910 were 43 and 49 respectively.


Fusion with the Conservatives

The issue of tariff reform had now become overshadowed by the revived threat of Home Rule for Ireland, as the
Parliament Act 1911 The Parliament Act 1911 (1 & 2 Geo. 5 c. 13) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the Uni ...
effectively stripped the House of Lords of its ability to veto it, while leaving it with delaying powers. This encouraged a movement to merge the two parties formally at the constituency and national organizational levels, a process speeded up by the election in 1911 of
Bonar Law Andrew Bonar Law ( ; 16 September 1858 – 30 October 1923) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from October 1922 to May 1923. Law was born in the British colon ...
as the new Conservative Party leader. An effective merger had already happened to some extent in Ireland, with the
Irish Unionist Party The Irish Unionist Alliance (IUA), also known as the Irish Unionist Party, Irish Unionists or simply the Unionists, was a Unionism in Ireland, unionist political party founded in Ireland in 1891 from a merger of the Irish Conservative Party and t ...
and the separately organized Ulster Unionist Council in 1905, later formally to become the
Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist political party in Northern Ireland. The party was founded in 1905, emerging from the Irish Unionist Alliance in Ulster. Under Edward Carson, it led unionist opposition to the I ...
. Outside Scotland and the English city of
Birmingham Birmingham ( ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of West Midlands (county), West Midlands in England. It is the second-largest city in the United Kingdom with a population of 1. ...
, many local Liberal Unionists and Conservatives had already formed joint constituency associations in the previous decade. In May 1912 the formal merger of the Conservatives and Liberal Unionists was finally accomplished to form the Conservative and Unionist Party, now usually called the Conservative Party. Although by 1912 the political distinctions between the two parties had long ceased to have any real meaning, they had been a residual factor in Austen Chamberlain's failure to become the Unionist leader in the House of Commons in 1911. When
Arthur Balfour Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, (, ; 25 July 184819 March 1930), also known as Lord Balfour, was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdo ...
resigned, Austen Chamberlain and Walter Hume Long both declared themselves as candidates for the leadership of the Unionist Party in the Commons. However, as Austen Chamberlain was still officially at least a Liberal Unionist, his candidature was opposed by many Conservatives, because they already had the Liberal Unionist Lord Lansdowne leading them in the House of Lords. In the end,
Bonar Law Andrew Bonar Law ( ; 16 September 1858 – 30 October 1923) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from October 1922 to May 1923. Law was born in the British colon ...
was elected unopposed by Unionist Members, and Austen Chamberlain would have to wait ten years for his chance to lead the united party. Following the merger, the party remained officially distinct in Scotland as the Unionist Party, though its MPs sat with the Conservatives and were part of the Conservative Party in all but name only; the Scottish party finally officially merged with its English counterpart in 1965.


Legacy

The political impact of the Liberal Unionist breakaway marked the end of the long nineteenth century domination by the Liberal party of the British political scene. From 1830 to 1886 the Liberals (the name the Whigs, Radicals and Peelites accepted as their political label after 1859) had been managed to become almost the party of permanent government with just a couple of Conservative interludes. After 1886, it was the Conservatives who enjoyed this position and they received a huge boost with their electoral and political alliance with a party of disaffected Liberals. Though not numerous, the Liberal Unionists boasted having the vast bulk of the old Whig aristocracy within their ranks, as represented by the stolid "old money" Duke of Devonshire. Another example is Frederick Leveson-Gower. The Duke of Devonshire's political partner, the Radical Joseph Chamberlain, was from a very different "new money" background, a businessman and a Unitarian. Though he had joined the Liberal Unionists late on, he was more determined to maintain their separate status in the alliance with the Conservatives, perhaps hoping and wishing that he would be able to refashion the combination under his own leadership at a later date. Chamberlain's stroke in 1906 robbed him of this chance, though he remained involved in political life until 1914. Though the Liberal Unionist party disappeared as a separate organisation in 1912, the Chamberlain legacy helped keep the industrial powerhouse of Birmingham from returning to the Liberal party and would only be changed in 1945 in the Labour Party electoral landslide of that year. It also remained a profound influence on Chamberlain's sons Austen and
Neville Chamberlain Arthur Neville Chamberlain (; 18 March 18699 November 1940) was a British politician of the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. He is best known for his for ...
, who, when he was elected leader of the Conservative Party and thus became Prime Minister in 1937, told an audience how proud he was of his Liberal Unionist roots. This isn't surprising. Neither Neville or Austen actually stood for Parliament as 'Conservative' candidates. Their local political association in Birmingham preferred to call themselves Unionist rather than Conservative during this time and campaigned as such. The Unionist label privately suited Neville Chamberlain as well. He confided to his own family how he always regarded the Conservative party label as 'odious' and thought of it a barrier to people joining what he thought could be a non-socialist but a reforming party during the 1930s which he hoped would be called National to include the parties of the National Government coalition in the 1930s.


Leaders of the Liberal Unionists in the House of Commons, 1886–1912

* Spencer Cavendish styled by courtesy Lord Hartington 1886–1891 (succeeded to his father's titles in 1891 and became the party leader in the Lords) *
Joseph Chamberlain Joseph Chamberlain (8 July 1836 – 2 July 1914) was a British statesman who was first a radical Liberal Party (UK), Liberal, then a Liberal Unionist after opposing home rule for Ireland, and eventually served as a leading New Imperialism, i ...
1891–1912


Leaders of the Liberal Unionists in the House of Lords, 1886–1912

*
Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby Edward Henry Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby, (21 July 182621 April 1893; known as Lord Stanley from 1851 to 1869) was a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, British statesman. He served as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs twice, from ...
1886–1891 * Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire 1891–1903 * Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne 1903–1912


Prominent Liberal Unionists

* Sir Alfred Hopkinson *
Leo Amery Leopold Charles Maurice Stennett Amery, (22 November 1873 – 16 September 1955), also known as L. S. Amery, was a British Conservative Party politician and journalist. During his career, he was known for his interest in military preparedness ...
* Jonathan Backhouse (created a
baronet A baronet ( or ; abbreviated Bart or Bt) or the female equivalent, a baronetess (, , or ; abbreviation Btss), is the holder of a baronetcy, a hereditary title awarded by the British Crown. The title of baronet is mentioned as early as the 14th ...
in 1901) * George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll * Francis Russell, 9th Duke of Bedford *
John Bright John Bright (16 November 1811 – 27 March 1889) was a British Radicals (UK), Radical and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal statesman, one of the greatest orators of his generation and a promoter of free trade policies. A Quaker, Bright is mos ...
*
Chichester Parkinson-Fortescue, 1st Baron Carlingford Chichester Samuel Parkinson-Fortescue, 2nd Baron Clermont and 1st Baron Carlingford (18 January 1823 – 30 January 1898), known as Chichester Fortescue until 1863 and as Chichester Parkinson-Fortescue between 1863 and 1874 and Lord Carlingford ...
* Sir Austen Chamberlain *
Joseph Chamberlain Joseph Chamberlain (8 July 1836 – 2 July 1914) was a British statesman who was first a radical Liberal Party (UK), Liberal, then a Liberal Unionist after opposing home rule for Ireland, and eventually served as a leading New Imperialism, i ...
* Jesse Collings * Leonard Darwin, son of biologist and naturalist
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin ( ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist, geologist, and biologist, widely known for his contributions to evolutionary biology. His proposition that all species of life have descended ...
. MP for
Lichfield Lichfield () is a city status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and Civil parishes in England, civil parish in Staffordshire, England. Lichfield is situated roughly south-east of the county town of Stafford, south-east of Rugeley, north- ...
1892–1895. *
Arthur Conan Doyle Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a British writer and physician. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 for ''A Study in Scarlet'', the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Hol ...
, author; candidate for Edinburgh Central in 1900 and Hawick Burghs in 1906 * A. V. Dicey *
Millicent Fawcett Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett (née Garrett; 11 June 1847 – 5 August 1929) was an English politician, writer and feminist. She campaigned for Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom, women's suffrage by Law reform, legal change and in 1897– ...
* George Goschen (created Viscount Goschen in 1900) * Lord Richard Grosvenor (created Lord Stalbridge in 1886) * Sir Henry James (created Lord James of Hereford in 1895) * W. E. H. Lecky * Francis Martineau Lupton, great great grandfather of
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Catherine, Princess of Wales, (born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton; 9 January 1982) is a member of the British royal family. She is married to William, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the Succession to the British throne, British throne, ...
* Thomas Baring, 1st Baron Northbrook (created Earl of Northbrook in 1886) * Roundell Palmer, 1st Earl of Selborne * William Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne *
Ernest Shackleton Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (15 February 1874 – 5 January 1922) was an Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. He was one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of An ...
, polar explorer; candidate for
Dundee Dundee (; sco, Dundee; gd, Dùn Dè or ) is Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a ...
in 1906 *
Henry Morton Stanley Sir Henry Morton Stanley (born John Rowlands; 28 January 1841 – 10 May 1904) was a Welsh Americans, Welsh-American explorer, journalist, soldier, colonial administrator, author and politician who was famous for his exploration of Central Afr ...
, journalist and explorer; MP for Lambeth North 1895 – 1900. *
Robert Lowe, 1st Viscount Sherbrooke Robert Lowe, 1st Viscount Sherbrooke, Order of the Bath, GCB, Privy Council of the United Kingdom, PC (4 December 1811 – 27 July 1892), British wikt:statesman, statesman, was a pivotal conservative spokesman who helped shape British politics ...
*
Henry Sidgwick Henry Sidgwick (; 31 May 1838 – 28 August 1900) was an English Utilitarianism, utilitarian philosopher and economist. He was the Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy, Knightbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Cambridge f ...
* George Trevelyan (rejoined the Liberal Party in 1887) *
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, (26 June 182417 December 1907) was a British mathematician, Mathematical physics, mathematical physicist and engineer born in Belfast. Professor of Natural Philosophy (Glasgow), Professor of Natural Philoso ...
*
Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster, (13 October 1825 – 22 December 1899), styled Viscount Belgrave between 1831 and 1845, Earl Grosvenor between 1845 and 1869, and known as The Marquess of Westminster between 1869 and 1874, was an ...
* Nevil Story Maskelyne * Frederick Leveson-Gower


Electoral performance


Historiography

Iain Sharpe argues that for many years historians largely ignored the party or mentioned it as introducing a new
class division Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an analytical concept used differently ...
to British party politics. Scholars since 1970 have dropped this class conflict approach. They see the Liberal Unionists as motivated primarily by ideology not class. For example, W. C. Lubenow finds no correlation between Liberal MPs' class background and their position on home rule. Jonathan Parry and T. A. Jenkins have separately argued that Gladstone's domineering leadership, his intense religiosity and his pandering to public opinion alienated the more secular and rationalist outlook of many Liberals.J. P. Parry, ''The Rise and Fall of Liberal Government in Victorian Britain'' (1993); T. A. Jenkins, ''Gladstone, Whiggery, and the Liberal Party, 1874–1886'' (1988). Ian Cawood portrays the Liberal Unionists as a distinct and vital political force, at least until 1895 when they entered coalition with the Conservatives.


In popular culture and the media

In
Oscar Wilde Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 185430 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of the most popular playwrights in London in the early 1890s. He is ...
's play ''
The Importance of Being Earnest ''The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People'' is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious ...
'' there is an exchange between Jack Worthing and Lady Bracknell about his suitability as a match for her daughter Gwendolen. :LADY BRACKNELL : ternly.. What are your politics? :JACK: Well, I am afraid I really have none. I am a Liberal Unionist. :LADY BRACKNELL: Oh, they count as Tories. They dine with us. Or come in the evening, at any rate. The play was first performed at the Queen's Theatre London on 14 February 1895 and ran for 83 performances. Jack Worthing's declaration that he was in essence apolitical but – if pressed – would say Liberal Unionist was a joke that would have appealed to the audiences that saw the play in that period. As a party that depended on an electoral pact with the Tories to maintain their MPs in parliament, the Liberal Unionists had to at least appear to be also 'Liberal' in matters not connected with Home Rule including some measures of promoting reform. To someone like Jack, the Liberal Unionists' attempts to be two things at the same time but in different places would have appealed with his double identity ('Well, my name is Ernest in town and Jack in the country', he says in act 1). Since 1895 the then topical 'Liberal Unionist' reference has caused some problems with later productions of the play. Usually the line is retained – despite its reference to a long dead political issue (and also party) but it was altered or omitted in at least two film versions of the play. In 1952 film version directed by
Anthony Asquith Anthony William Landon Asquith (; 9 November 1902 – 20 February 1968) was an English film director. He collaborated successfully with playwright Terence Rattigan on ''The Winslow Boy (1948 film), The Winslow Boy'' (1948) and ''The Browning ...
(the son of a former British Liberal Prime Minister H. H. Asquith) Jack answers that he is a 'Liberal' rather than 'Liberal Unionist'. Lady Bracknell's answer remains the same. In 1952 this comment was applicable to the then Liberal party's precarious political position, whose few remaining MPs were largely in constituencies where the Conservative party refused to stand for fear of splitting an established Liberal vote and letting in the Labour Party. Since then, many adaptations of the play have kept this brief mention of the obscure political party. However, in the 2002 film version which starred
Judi Dench Dame Judith Olivia Dench (born 9 December 1934) is an English actress. Regarded as one of Britain's best actresses, she is noted for her versatile work in various films and television programmes encompassing several genres, as well as for her ...
,
Colin Firth Colin Andrew Firth (born 10 September 1960) is an English actor and producer. He was identified in the mid-1980s with the "Brit Pack (actors), Brit Pack" of rising young British actors, undertaking a challenging series of roles, including lead ...
, Rupert Everett and
Reese Witherspoon Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon (born March 22, 1976) is an American actress and producer. The recipient of List of awards and nominations received by Reese Witherspoon, various accolades, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Awa ...
– the lines were dropped yet episodes and characters in an earlier version of the play that Wilde had been encouraged to drop before the play's first performance were re-incorporated.


See also

*
Liberalism Liberalism is a Political philosophy, political and moral philosophy based on the Individual rights, rights of the individual, liberty, consent of the governed, political equality and equality before the law."political rationalism, hostilit ...
* Nonconformist * Liberalism in the United Kingdom * Scottish Unionist Party (1912–1965) *
Irish Unionist Party The Irish Unionist Alliance (IUA), also known as the Irish Unionist Party, Irish Unionists or simply the Unionists, was a Unionism in Ireland, unionist political party founded in Ireland in 1891 from a merger of the Irish Conservative Party and t ...
*
Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist political party in Northern Ireland. The party was founded in 1905, emerging from the Irish Unionist Alliance in Ulster. Under Edward Carson, it led unionist opposition to the I ...


References


Further reading

* Bebbington, D. W. ''The Nonconformist Conscience: Chapel and Politics, 1870–1914'' (George Allen & Unwin, 1982). * Bentley, Michael. ''The Climax of British Politics: British Liberalism in Theory and Practice 1868–1918'' (Edward Arnold, 1987). * Bernstein, George L. ''Liberalism and Liberal Politics in Edwardian England'' (Allen & Unwin, 1986). * Blewett, Neal. ''The Peers, the Parties and the People: the general elections of 1910'' (U of Toronto Press, 1972). * Cawood, Ian. ''The Liberal Unionist Party: A History'' (I.B. Tauris. 2012)., 362, pp
online review and historiography by Iain Sharpe
; the only full-scale history of the party in print; see Ferris (2008) below * Cawood, Ian. "The 1892 General Election and the Eclipse of the Liberal Unionists." ''Parliamentary History'' 29.3 (2010): 331–57. * Cawood, Ian. "The Unionist 'Compact' in West Midland Politics 1891–1895." ''Midland History'' 30 (2005): 92–111. * * Davis, Peter. "The Liberal Unionist Party and the Irish Policy of Lord Salisbury's Government, 1886–1892" ''Historical Journal'' 18#1 (1975), p. 85–104. * Fair, John D. "From Liberal to Conservative: The Flight of the Liberal Unionists after 1886." ''Victorian Studies'' (1986): 291–314
in JSTOR
* Fair, John D. "Party Voting Behaviour in the British House of Commons, 1886–1918,' ''Parliamentary History'' 5#1 (1986), pp. 65–82. * Ferris, Wesley. "The Liberal Unionist Party, 1886–1912" (PhD dissertation, McMaster University, 2008
online
; Detailed bibliography pp 397–418. full text online * * France, John. "Salisbury and the Unionist Alliance" in Robert Blake and Hugh Cecil, eds., ''Salisbury: The Man and his Policies'' (Macmillan, 1987), pp. 219–251. * Fraser, Peter. "The Liberal Unionist Alliance: Chamberlain, Hartington, and the Conservatives, 1886–1904." ''English Historical Review'' 77#302 (1962): 53–78
in JSTOR
* Goodman, Gordon L. "Liberal Unionism: the revolt of the Whigs." ''Victorian Studies'' 3.2 (1959): 173–189
in JSTOR
* Holland, Bernard Henry. ''The Life of Spencer Compton, eighth duke of Devonshire.'' (2 vols 1911)
online vol 1
an
online vol 2
* Jackson, Patrick. ''The Last of the Whigs: A Political Biography of Lord Hartington, later Eighth Duke of Devonshire (1833–1908)'' (Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1994). * Jenkins, T. A. "The funding of the Liberal Unionist party and the honours system." ''English Historical Review'' 105.417 (1990): 920–9
in JSTOR
* Jenkins, T. A. "Hartington, Chamberlain and the Unionist Alliance, 1886–1895" ''Parliamentary History'' 11#1 (1992) pp. 108–138. * * McCaffrey, John F. "The Origins of Liberal Unionism in the West of Scotland" ''Scottish Historical Review'' Vol. 50 (1971) pp. 47–71. * * * Parry, Jonathan.
Cavendish, Spencer Compton, marquess of Hartington and eighth duke of Devonshire (1833–1908)
, ''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'', Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 5 Jan 2014]. * Rempel, Richard A. ''Unionists Divided; Arthur Balfour, Joseph Chamberlain and the Unionist Free Traders'' (Archon Books, 1972). * Searle, G. R. ''Country Before Party: Coalition and the Idea of "National Government" in modern Britain, 1885–1987'' (1995). * Searle, G. R. ''A New England?: Peace and War 1886–1918'' (2004) survey of the era. * Sharpe, Iain. "Review of: The Liberal Unionist Party: A History" ''Reviews in History'' (2012
online
; historiography


External links

*http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22972 *http://www.historyandpolicy.org/policy-papers/papers/liberal-conservative-coalitions-a-farce-and-a-fraud *http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1468-2281.12092/abstract {{DEFAULTSORT:Liberal Unionist Party Liberal Unionist Party, Conservative liberal parties Defunct political parties in the United Kingdom United Kingdom 1886 Political parties established in 1886 Liberal Party (UK) breakaway groups Political parties disestablished in 1912 Liberal parties in the United Kingdom 1886 establishments in the United Kingdom 1912 disestablishments in the United Kingdom History of the Conservative Party (UK)