In recent years two of the long-immobile building blocks of British politics, the party system and Parliament, have begun to shift. From 1945 to the early 1970s, Britain had a stable two-party system of government and electoral competition. Two large parties, Labour and Conservative, took the reins of office in turn, depending on which of them was the more popular. No other party mattered. All the major interests sympathised with one or other party and all accepted the authority of the party that had won the most recent election. The mechanism that translated victory at the polls into government power was Parliament. The party that won the majority of seats in the House of Commons formed the government. Its MPs could be depended on to do as the party bade. The party leaders, therefore, had unchallenged authority.
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Guide to Further Reading
- Alan R. Ball, British Political Parties: The Emergence of a Modern Party System (Macmillan, 1981)Google Scholar
- Beer (1982) forsakes responsible party government in Britain Against Itself.Google Scholar
- Philip Norton (1981) The Commons in PerspectiveGoogle Scholar
- Philip Norton, Conservative Dissidents (Temple Smith, 1978)Google Scholar
- K. Middlemas,‘Unemployment: the Past and Future of a Political Problem’, The Political Quarterly, vol. 51, no. 4 (October–December 1980).Google Scholar
- Richard Ingram’s Goldenballs (Coronet, 1979)Google Scholar
- Alan Warde, Consensus and Beyond (Manchester University Press, 1982)Google Scholar
- Martin Jacques and Francis Mulhern, The Forward March of Labour Halted? (Verso, 1981).Google Scholar
- H. Drucker, Breakaway: The Scottish Labour Party (Edinburgh Student Publications Board, 1978Google Scholar
- Michael Frayn, On the Outskirts (Collins, 1964)Google Scholar
- Brian Barry’s review in Political Quarterly, vol. 53, no. 3 (July–September 1982).Google Scholar