‘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

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Conservative MP Nick Boles calls for a new National Liberal Party

Conservative MP Nick Boles has called for the setting up of a new National Liberal Party, which would put up candidates jointly with the Conservative Party.

The term National Liberal has been used before. Followers of Lloyd George stood in the 1922 general election as National Liberals, without Conservative opposition. This first Liberal National Party only lasted until the following year, when the Liberal Nationals and the Liberals reunited before the 1923 election.

The term re-emerged in the 1940s when the Liberal Nationals swapped to being the National Liberals. The Liberal Nationals were a group which started to break away from the Liberal Party in 1931 after the formation of the National Government. By 1933 the Liberals and the Liberal Nationals were on opposite sides of the Commons. The Liberal Nationals became closer and closer to the Conservatives, agreeing an electoral pact in 1947 and eventually being subsumed fully into the Conservative Party in 1968.

I suspect that Nick Boles, who read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at university, is fully aware of the history. But I think that he may be choosing to read the history backwards. He is probably starting from the tempting thought (for the Conservatives) of being allied with, and perhaps later taking over, this new party.

However, in the previous examples the Liberal Nationals had split from the Liberals. In this case, Nick Boles’s idea could end up creating a break-away group from the Conservatives – and who knows where they could end up?

No comments:

Post a Comment