The Liberal-Tory Coalition of 1915

As we enter the final months of the present Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government it is an appropriate time to look back to a previous partnership between the two parties in the 100th anniversary of its formation.

The Liberal Party and the First World War

A one-day conference organised by the Journal of Liberal History and Kings College, London.

Great Liberal thinkers: lessons for the future

To mark the launch of our publication, ‘Liberal Thinkers’, Baroness Liz Barker and MPs Alan Beith, David Laws and John Pugh draw lessons from past Liberal thinkers for the future direction of the Liberal Democrats.

Liberalism, Peace and the First World War

The First World War sent a shockwave through the Liberal Party, permanently affecting its politics, its people and the way it viewed the world and its own place in it. This meeting, jointly organised by the Liberal Democrat History Group and Liberal International British Group and held a hundred years, almost to the day, after […]

Decline and Fall: the Liberal Party and the general elections of 1922, 1923 and 1924

For the Liberal Party, the three general elections of 1922,1923 and 1924 represented a terrible journey from postwar disunity to reunion, and near return to government to dramatic and prolonged decline. Arguably, this was the key period which relegated the Liberals to the third-party status from which they have still never escaped. The Liberal Democrat […]

Survival and success: the first 25 years of the Liberal Democrats

This year, 2013, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Liberal Democrats. From near-annihilation to entry into government, the years since 1988 have been a roller-coaster ride for the party. Discuss which factors were important in the survival and success of the Liberal Democrats, and speculate about the future, with: Duncan Brack (Editor, Journal of Liberal […]

Jo Grimond – the legacy

Jo Grimond, leader of the Liberal Party from 1956 to 1967, holds a particularly affectionate place in the collective memory of the Liberal Democrats. His charisma, charm, good looks, political courage, intellect and inherent liberalism inspired many to join the Liberal Party in the late 1950s and 1960s and gained him a national reputation as […]

David Lloyd George: the legacy

One of the greatest Liberal prime ministers, David Lloyd George, was born 150 years ago. Come and discuss his legacy, for the country and for Liberalism, with his biographer Kenneth O. Morgan and David Howarth. Chair: Lady Celia Thomas. A Liberal Democrat History Group / Lloyd George Society meeting.

The progressive coalition that never was lessons from the Ashdown-Blair ‘project’

Between 1994 and 1999, Paddy Ashdown and Tony Blair led a process of collaboration between the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party, with the aim not merely of defeating the Conservatives but of establishing clear common ground between the progressive parties in British politics. Some of the outcomes of this process – ‘the project’, in […]

The Liberal Party, Unionism and political culture in late 19th and early 20th century Britain

A one-day seminar organised by Newman University College and the Journal of Liberal History. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw great changes in British political culture. The gradual emergence of a mass electorate informed by a popular press, debates about the role of the state in social policy, Imperial upheavals and wars all […]

The Day Parliament Burned Down

In the early evening of 16 October 1834, a huge ball of fire exploded through the roof of the Houses of Parliament, creating a blaze so enormous that it could be seen by the King and Queen at Windsor, and from stagecoaches on top of the South Downs. In front of hundreds of thousands of […]

Mothers of liberty: how modern liberalism was made by women

Thanks to their exclusion from the right to vote and to stand for Parliament before 1918, the role of women in Liberal history is often overlooked. Yet many women played crucial roles, from the earliest days of Liberal history, as organisers, campaigners and theorists. This meeting analysed and celebrated the importance of women to the […]

Winston Churchill: Tory or Liberal?

“I am an English Liberal. I hate the Tory Party, their men, their words and their methods.” These were Winston Churchill’s own words in 1903. As a Liberal, Churchill held high government office and, along with Lloyd George, was regarded as one of the driving forces of Asquith’s reforming administration. Was Liberalism his true political […]

Whatever happened to ‘Orpington Man’?

The Orpington by-election of March 1962 was a political landmark: a stunning victory for Jo Grimond’s Liberal Party, as Eric Lubbock turned a Conservative majority of 14,760 into a Liberal majority of 7,855. The term ‘Orpington Man’ was coined by the press to identify a new type of voter, young, white-collar, skilled, well-educated and upwardly […]

Peace, Reform and Liberation: launch of new Liberal history book

Peace, Reform and Liberation is a comprehensive history of Liberal politics in Britain. Drawing on the most recent scholarly research, the Liberal Democrat History Groups new book examines the roots of Liberal thinking in the revolutionary tumult of the seventeenth century, the history of Whig politics, how the Liberal Party was formed in the mid-nineteenth […]

Forgotten heroes for a governing party

Some forgotten figures of Liberal history may deserve their obscurity, but most remain an unmined source of reference, quotation and inspiration for the contemporary Liberal Democrat – especially now, when the party is participating in national government for the first time in more than a generation. At this year’s Liberal Democrat History Group summer meeting, […]

Riding the tiger – the Liberal experience of coalition governments

A one day seminar organised by the Archives Division of the London School of Economics, the British Liberal Political Studies Group and the Journal of Liberal History. The distinguished psephologist Dr David Butler has pointed out that coalitions between unequal partners can turn out to be like the relationship between the tiger and the young […]

Lords Reform 1911-2011

The 1911 Parliament Act, introduced in the wake of the rejection by the House of Lords of Lloyd George’s People’s Budget and the two general elections of 1910, was the first successful reform of the powers of the upper house and gave constitutional supremacy to the elected House of Commons. Now, one hundred years after […]