How Successfully Did the Liberals Handle the Constitutional Crisis?
How successfully did the liberals handle the constitutional crisis in 1901 – 1911? In 1909 Lloyd George was the Chancellor, he was in charge of the countries money and how they spend it and how much they tax the public. He needed to increase the budget some how to pay for battle ships because England was in a arms race with Germany. When taxing the people he only wanted to increase the tax for the rich, he did not see it would be fair to increase the taxes for the already poor and those struggling to pay the tax already; however he came across a problem.
The House of Lords had been the most powerful part of parliament, they had the power to block any bills and laws coming form the House of Commons. They had recently blocked the Education Act. This had been tradition for the past 200 years allowing them to dismiss any bill, this was incredibly bias though, most bills were passed to benefit the poor and to charge the rich. This bill would easily pass the Commons but not the Lords, Asquith’s solution was to ask King Edward VII (who had the highest power in the country) to create peers.
In doing this the Liberals would be able to out vote the Conservative lords. The King agreed to this but he suddenly died in May 1910. This presented the Liberals with another step to over come. The next to the air was George V; his ambition was to get two parties to come to some kind of agreement without resorting to making new peers. A constitutional conference was held between June and November. The Conservatives offered to reform the composition of lords, but the liberals were determined to reduce the power of the constitution.
The Conservatives also tried insisted the lords should have the power to veto any change in the constitution, enabling them to block the home rule for Ireland. Asquith was under strong pressure from the Irish to reject the Conservatives’ proposal. George V finally agreed he would create enough new peers to pass the parliament bill as long as the Liberal’s one a general election fought on this issue held in December. The Election left the Liberals and Conservatives with exactly the same number of seats, 272 each.
However because the Liberals had a strong backing from Labour, who had 47 seats, and from the Irish Nationalists, who had 84 seats, the Liberals were able to rely on a working majority and would remain in government. This parliament act helped make the British constitution more democratic. They stopped the lord’s form controlling parliament and what happened to the country. For this reason alone I believe the Liberals were successful with the constitution crisis, however they would have not been able to do it alone, without the help of Labour and the Irish Nationalists the conservatives would have been in power.