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Victorian Political Culture'Habits of Heart and Mind'$
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Angus Hawkins

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728481

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728481.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 11 April 2021

The Demise of ‘Parliamentary Government’

The Demise of ‘Parliamentary Government’


(p.272) (p.273) 8 The Demise of ‘Parliamentary Government’
Victorian Political Culture

Angus Hawkins

Oxford University Press

After 1867 the Reform settlement was modified further by electoral legislation, the 1872 Ballot Act ending public voting, while national political parties exerted greater control in constituencies. The Conservative Central Office, National Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations, and Liberal Central Association carried this process forward. The titanic clash between Gladstone and Disraeli symbolized confrontation between the Liberal and Conservative parties. The duration of governments became aligned with general elections. Tighter discipline was established over Commons voting of MPs. By the 1880s parliamentary parties were expected to speak and vote as a bloc. Westminster’s function in passing ministerial legislation came to the fore. The careers of Joseph Chamberlain and Lord Randolph Churchill illustrated opportunities for ambitious politicians to exploit extra-parliamentary organization in applying pressure on party leaderships. Programme politics became adopted. So ‘parliamentary government’ gave way to a national party system in which sovereignty became vested in electoral opinion.

Keywords:   ballot, Conservatives, Liberals, Disraeli, Gladstone, Joseph Chamberlain, Lord Randolph Churchill, Lord Salisbury

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