Start of the 1885 general election

The election, which concluded on December 18th, was won by the Liberals, though not with an overall majority as the Irish Nationalists or Home Rulers won 85 out of the 103 Irish seats, completely displacing the Liberals and securing the balance of power in the Commons. The question of home rule would divide the Liberal Party. The Liberals secured 319 seats including gains in the counties, though unexpected losses in the boroughs and new single-member city seats saw the party fall short of a majority. Even among the 320 elected Members, not all could be relied on to follow the Whip. Gladstone’s Home Rule Bill was to be defeated by 341 votes to 311 in 1886.