The 1918 ‘coupon’ general election

Just 24 hours after the Armistice had been signed with Germany, Lloyd George announced his decision to hold an election in alliance with his Coalition partners and Parliament was accordingly dissolved on 14 November 1918. The ensuing contest shattered the Liberal Party by formalising wartime divisions and providing a clear distinction between those Liberals who supported Lloyd George and those who continued to stand by Asquith.

The 1931 general election

The National Government was formed in August 1931, following the failure of Ramsay Macdonald's minority Labour administration to deal with the mounting unemployment that was paralysing Britain. The Conservatives had been pressing for the adoption of protection throughout the proceeding period and the public were becoming increasingly frustrated by the apparent ineffectiveness of the free trade policy, that had underpinned Britain's economic policy since the repeal of the Corn Laws. In contrast, the majority of Liberals remained distinctly opposed to the introduction of protection, which they associated with inflated food prices, vested interests and international conflict. The new administration was therefore far from harmonious.

Journal articles

The 1918 Coupon Election and its Consequences

Evening meeting, 2 July 2018, with Alistair Cooke and Kenneth O. Morgan; chair: Claire Tyler

Election 2017 – A Missed Opportunity?

Evening meeting, 5 February 2018, with James Gurling and Professor Phil Cowley; chair: Baroness Olly Grender.

Letters to the Editor

Nelia Penman (Graeme Peters); Lloyd George and Nonconformity (Kenneth O. Morgan); French elections (Ian Stuart); The 2017 election (Trevor Jones and Richard Pealling)

Agents at work

Review of Kathryn Rix, Parties, Agents and Electoral Culture in England 1880–1910 (Boydell Press, 2016)

Letters to the Editor

The 1915 general election (Graem Peters, Peter Rowland); Chris Rennard
interview (Barry Standen, Roger Jenking)

The 2017 election: a missed opportunity?

An examination of the Liberal Democrat performance in the 2017 election

The changing face of election campaigning

An interview with Chris Rennard, former Director of Campaigns and Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats, about election campaigning.

The Liberal Party and the general election of 1915

What could have happened in the general election due in 1915 but postponed because of the war.

Eric Lubbock and the Orpington moment

A Lancashire miner in Walthamstow

Report: Catastrophe: the 2015 election campaign and its outcome

Coalition and the 2015 election

The 2015 election campaign and its outcome

Who votes for the Liberal Democrats? And why?

Review of Andrew Russell and Edward Fieldhouse, Neither Left nor Right? The Liberal Democrats and the Electorate (Manchester University Press, 2005).

What the voters saw

Review of Emily Robinson & Justin Fisher, General Election 2005 – What the Voters Saw (New Politics Network, 2005).

Party agents 1880-1914

Professionalisation and political culture.

Who votes for the Liberal Democrats?

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

2010 analysed

Review of Robert Worcester and Roger Mortimore, Explaining Cameron’s Coalition (Biteback Publishing, 2011).

A forgotten Liberal-Conservative alliance

250 High Streets later…

Review of Mark D’Arcy & Rory Maclean, Nightmare! The Race to Become London’s Mayor (Politico’s Publishing, 2000).

Report: 1974 remembered

Simon and Southwark, Bermondsey

The newcomer

Victory at Paisley

So how well did we do?

1945 and all that


The Sutton & Cheam by-election

The lessons of Orpington

Fighting Orpington

Report: Landslide for the left

The 1936 Preston by-election

Honiton, Dumfriesshire and the Lloyd George Fund

Disappointment or bridgehead?

Berwick-upon-Tweed: A venal borough?

Religion and politics

Sepctacular victories

The Liberal Party and general elections

What went wrong at Darlington?

Every vote for Llewelyn Williams is a vote against Lloyd George

Value for money

The 2001 election

The 2005 general election

Reviews of Andrew Geddes & Jonathan Tonge (eds.), Britain Decides The UK General Election 2005 (Palgrave, 2005), John Bartle & Anthony King (eds.), Britain at the Polls 2005 (CQ Press, 2005), Dennis Kavanagh & David Butler, The British General Election of 2005 (Palgrave, 2005), Pippa Norris & Christopher Wlezien (eds.), Britain Votes 2005 (Oxford University Press, 2005).

Hastings in 1900

The Inverness turning point

Liberal civil war: Denbigh, Oldham and the 1935 election

Elections 2007

The 1908 Hastings by-election

The 2010 election

The Liberal electoral agent in the post-Reform-Act era

Report: Election 2005 in historical perspective


The 1918 coupon election and its consequences

In November 1918, just 24 hours after the Armistice had been signed with Germany, the Liberal Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, announced his decision to hold a general election. Selected coalition candidates received a signed letter of endorsement from Lloyd George and the Conservative leader Andrew Bonar Law. The 1918 election thus became known as […]

Election 2017 – a missed opportunity?

The Liberal Democrats entered the 2017 general election campaign with high hopes: they were the only major UK-wide party unequivocally to oppose Brexit, and the campaign followed months of encouraging local government by-election results. But the outcome was a disappointment: a further fall in the vote from the catastrophic result in 2015, and four losses […]

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 […]

Election 2005 in historical perspective

The 2005 election saw the Liberal Democrats win a higher number of seats than at any time since 1923, and, for the second election in a row, gain both votes and seats after a period of Labour government – a historically unprecedented achievement. Yet many had hoped for an even better result, and the election […]

1974 Remembered

The two elections of 1974 formed a peak of the second post-war Liberal revival, giving the party six million votes but no more than fourteen MPs. Participants in the campaigns – including Tim Beaumont, Viv Bingham, Adrian Slade, Sir Cyril Smith, Paul Tyler MP and Richard Wainwright – shared their recollections of the elections.