The Liberal Ascendancy: 1906–1910

  • Chris Cook


With the triumph of the election behind him, Campbell-Bannerman found himself in a position of strength unequalled by any Liberal leader in recent history. He was head of the largest anti-Conservative majority for over eighty years. If the Liberal back-benches were filled with men new to Parliament, there was no lack of capable and indeed brilliant men seeking the higher positions of office. Hence the Cabinet chosen by Campbell-Bannerman proved to be one of the strongest and most gifted of any peacetime administration. It was a blend of the outstanding intellectual power of Asquith, who became Chancellor of the Exchequer, Haldane at the War Office, Augustine Birrell as President of the Board of Education and James Bryce as Chief Secretary for Ireland, together with the dynamism and drive of Lloyd George at the Board of Trade and Winston Churchill as Under-Secretary at the Colonial Office. The Foreign Office was entrusted to the much respected Sir Edward Grey.


Prime Minister Short History Social Reform High Hope Liberal Party 
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  1. 1.
    Lord Ponsonby’s notes on Campbell-Bannerman in Francis W. Hirst, In the Golden Days. (1947) p. 259,Google Scholar
  2. José F. Harris and Cameron Hazlehurst, ‘Campbell-Bannerman as Prime Minister’, History, Vol. 55, No. 185 (Oct. 1970) pp. 360–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. P. Alderson, Mr Asquith (1905) p. 268.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    See C. Hazlehurst, ‘Asquith as Prime Minister’, English Histoncal Review (1972) p. 513.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    J. A. Hobson, The Crisis of Liberalism (1909) p. xii.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Quoted in P. Rowland, The Last Liberal Governments: The Promised Land, 1905–10 (1968) p. 243. This is a detailed and excellent account of this period.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    For details of the January 1910 election, see M. Kinnear, The British Voter: An Atlas and Survey since 1885 (1968).Google Scholar
  8. N. Blewett, The Peers, The Parties and The People: The British General Elections of 1910 (1972).Google Scholar

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© Chris Cook 1984

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  • Chris Cook

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