British Party Politics, 1852–1886 by Angus Hawkins

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By Angus Hawkins

Among 1852 and 1886 British politics moved from a procedure of 'parliamentary govt' in the direction of a get together procedure. This e-book seems at why and the way this modification occurred and analyses the long term implications it had for British politics.

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The six-point Charter drawn up in 1838, portrayed as the Magna Carta of the lower classes, demanded annual parliaments, universal manhood suffrage, the abolition of property qualifications for MPs, the ballot, equal electoral districts, and salaries for MPs. By 1839 Chartist advocates of physical force, such as Feargus O'Connor, were organising mass meetings, which often degenerated into violent riots. Bitter strikes occurred in 1842 as a Chartist petition, bearing 3 million names, was presented to parliament; to be rejected by 287 to 59 Commons votes.

Sir Robert Peel, as leader of the Conservative party from 1834 to 1846, attempted to preserve important aspects of earlier executive government. Peel had served his political apprenticeship under Lord Liverpool prior to 1827. He rejected the Whig notion of an executive subservient to parliament, with little resources to pursue a view of the national need different from that of the majority of the Commons. On becoming prime minister for a second time, in 1841, though enjoying the nominal 30 Parliamentary Government support of a Conservative majority of MPs, Peel made his views clear to his backbenchers.

Electors voted for men as much as parties. In the election of 1857, for example, roughly one in five electors in English constituencies with two votes split their votes between different parties. For general elections between 1832 and 1867 an average of 14 per cent of electors of this kind in English constituencies split their votes between two parties. 24 This warns us against reading a direct causal relation between party activity in the constituencies, suspicious of outside control, and party dynamics in parliament.

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