Explain why the Conservatives lost the 1906 elections. (12 marks)

Topics: Liberalism, Labour Party, Conservatism Pages: 2 (669 words) Published: February 11, 2014
Explain why the Conservatives lost the 1906 elections. (12 marks) One reason contributing to the Conservative defeat was due to the social conditions of Britain and the Conservatives failure to improve these shocking conditions. For example, the Boer War highlighted that 69% of recruits were deemed unfit for service because of the extent of malnutrition present in British society which revealed the severe effect of poverty in the cities and the desperate need for social reforms. The Bore war also created a huge financial burden and 22,000 British soldiers died which was a lot more than expected, this startled British society and strengthened the call for social reforms. Another factor strengthening the need for social reforms was the 1901 Rowntree Report which highlighted that 30% of people lived below the poverty line in York and Charles Booth Report 27% of London lived below the poverty line. However, the Conservatives failed to hear these calls and neglected Britain’s plead for reformation and only introduced the 1902 Education Act which didn’t solve any problems to do with living conditions. The reason this was possibly the most significant reason for Conservative defeat in 1906 was because it was the first time Britain was made aware of their extent of malnutrition and it was worrying so they wanted something done but Conservatives didn’t even attempt to solve this. The Liberals argued that the state should play a larger role in improving living standards which helped gained the vote from the working classes. Another factor assisting Conservative defeat was because of their provocation towards Non-Conformists. The Chinese Labour issue angered non-conformists; they compared importing Chinese workers to South Africa with low wages, tough working conditions and poor living standards to slavery and they strongly argued against it on moral grounds. The Education Act in 1902 enraged non-conformists as they didn’t want their taxes spent on Catholic schools and...
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