‘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, 23 February 2014

Liberals' 1950 Dilemma over Broad or Narrow Front

Today is the anniversary of the 1950 general election. The Liberals, under the leadership of Clement Davies, were faced with a dilemma over whether to fight on a broad or narrow front.

If the party put up candidates in at least half of the seats (313 in 1950) they could at least argue that they were fighting to form a government. At the last election in 1945 they had fielded 306 candidates, but won only 12 seats.

The broad front strategy was adpoted and the party fielded 475 candidates. In the event, only 9 of the 475 were elected and 319 of them lost their deposit.

The good news was that the party had managed to insure their candidates' deposits with Lloyds.

Not surprisingly, at the following election in 1951 the insurance policy was no longer on offer and the number of candidates fell to only 109.

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