‘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

Sunday, 2 February 2014

A Ukip-Conservative Pact? What does History say about it?

Just over a hundred years ago one of the two main British parties of government entered a pact with an emerging smaller party, which shared many of its aims and policies. At the following election both parties made gains and the pact seemed to be a win-win deal.

Could a pact between the Conservatives and Ukip be another match made in political heaven?
A couple of details though – the 1903 Gladstone-MacDonald Pact between the Liberals and the forerunner of the Labour Party was indeed followed by a Liberal landslide victory in 1906 with 400 seats. Labour also won 30 seats. 

The rest is history, of course. By 1922 Labour had overtaken the Liberal Party which dwindled to a low of only 5 seats in 1956. The Party did just survive and (as the Liberal Democrats) clawed its way back to 57 seats at the 2010 election.

Looking at this historical precedent may seem very attractive for Ukip, but David Cameron (who knows his political history) is not likely to be tempted by this precedent.

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