‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Which Liberal/Lib Dem leader was worst for losing defectors?

Liberal and Lib Dem leaders ranked by annual loss of defecting MPs and former MPs:

Lloyd George        1.6%      most defections
Asquith                 0.9%
Davies                   0.6%
Samuel                 0.5%
Ashdown               0.5%
Sinclair                 0.3%
Thorpe                  0.2%
Kennedy               0.2%
Grimond                0.1%
Steel                      0.0%
Campbell               0.0%
Clegg                     0.0%       least defections

Steel, Campbell and Clegg (so far) lost no MPs or former MPs and come out best for maintaining party unity. Lloyd George comes out worst by quite a wide margin.

The figures provide a fair comparison as they take account of the length of the leader’s tenure in office and the number of potential defectors available (MPs and former MPs) in each year since 1910 (the highest pool of potential defectors being 443 in 1923 and the lowest 40 between 1980 and 1982).

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