How Successful was the Liberal government in dealing with the constitutional crisis of 1909-11?
In 1909 Lloyd George needed to find £15 million of extra revenue to provide for the new social services and for the construction of naval warships, to do this the budget had to be passed. It was not easy for Lloyd George to finance social reforms because OAPs which were introduced in 1908, cost £2m p.a., more than had been estimated. Also there was a trade recession and rising unemployment, so government revenues were falling as fewer taxes were being paid. Britain had to build more dreadnoughts as the naval arms race with Germany was intensifying, and fears grew that the German Navy would overtake the Royal Navy. Conservative opposition called for the building of more dreadnoughts with the slogan; ‘We want eight and we won’t wait’. Liberal party also wanted to reduce the Lords power as the Liberal social reforms were being sabotaged in the House of Lords were the Conservatives had a 5:1 majority.
A General Election was called in January 1910 as the Lords rejected the money bill. The government could not fumction without money so the issue was put to the voters to decide. The Conservatives had to win a large number of seats in order to justify their rejection of the budget, however they did not and ithe election was therefore a defeat for the Conservatives. However, the Liberals no longer had an overall majority in the commons so they could only get their bills passed if they got the support of the Labour party and Irish Nationalists. The Irish Nationalists would only give their support in return for granting of Home Rule for Ireland, so the Liberal party had to include Home Rule in their policy. The Liberals were reliant on the Labour Party as Labour would only support them in return for favourable legislation for trade unions, assistance for working class candidates to become MPs. This allowed the Labour Party to develop links with uniona and allowed them to...
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