1906 United Kingdom general election

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1906 United Kingdom general election
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
  1900 12 January – 8 February 1906 (1906-01-12 1906-02-08) Jan 1910  

All 670 seats in the House of Commons
336 seats needed for a majority
 First partySecond party
  Picture of Henry Campbell-Bannerman.jpg Coming men on coming questions (1905) (14595689047) (cropped).jpg
Leader Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman Arthur Balfour
Party Liberal Conservative & Lib. Unionist
Leader sinceDecember 189811 June 1902
Leader's seat Stirling Burghs Manchester East (defeated)
Last election183 seats, 44.7%402 seats, 50.3%
Seats won397156
Seat changeIncrease2.svg214Decrease2.svg246
Popular vote2,565,6442,278,076

 Third partyFourth party
  Ireland yesterday and today (1909) (14587063449) (cropped).jpg Coming men on coming questions (1905) (14779821224) (cropped).jpg
Leader John Redmond Keir Hardie
Party Irish Parliamentary Labour Repr. Cmte.
Leader since6 February 190028 February 1900
Leader's seat Waterford City Merthyr Tydfil
Last election77 seats, 1.6%2 seats, 1.8%
Seats won8229
Seat changeIncrease2.svg5Increase2.svg27
Popular vote33,231254,202

United Kingdom general election 1906.svg
Colours denote the winning party

Prime Minister before election

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman

Appointed Prime Minister

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman

The 1906 United Kingdom general election was held from 12 January to 8 February 1906.


The Liberals, led by Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman, won a landslide majority at the election. The Conservatives led by Arthur Balfour, who had been in government until the month before the election, lost more than half their seats, including party leader Balfour's own seat in Manchester East, leaving them with their lowest-ever number of seats. The election saw a 5.4% swing from the Conservative Party to the Liberal Party, the largest-ever seen at the time (however, if only looking at seats contested in both 1900 and 1906, the Conservative vote fell by 11.6%). [1] This has resulted in the 1906 general election being dubbed the "Liberal landslide", and is now ranked alongside the 1931, 1945, 1983 and 1997 general elections as one of the largest landslide election victories. [2]

Liberal Party (UK) political party of the United Kingdom, 1859–1988

The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.

Henry Campbell-Bannerman former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1905 to 1908 and Leader of the Liberal Party from 1899 to 1908. He also served as Secretary of State for War twice, in the Cabinets of Gladstone and Rosebery. He was the first First Lord of the Treasury to be officially called "Prime Minister", the term only coming into official usage five days after he took office. He also remains the only person to date to hold the positions of Prime Minister and Father of the House at the same time.

A landslide victory is an electoral victory in a political system, when one candidate or party receives an overwhelming majority of the votes or seats in the elected body, thus all but utterly eliminating the opponents. The winning party has reached more voters than usual, and a landslide victory is often seen in hindsight as a turning point in people's views on political matters.

The Labour Representation Committee was far more successful than at the 1900 general election and after the election would be renamed the Labour Party with 29 MPs and Keir Hardie as leader. The Irish Parliamentary Party, led by John Redmond, achieved its seats with a relatively low number of votes, as 73 candidates stood unopposed.

1900 United Kingdom general election

The 1900 United Kingdom general election was held between 26 September and 24 October 1900, following the dissolution of Parliament on 25 September. Also referred to as the Khaki Election, it was held at a time when it was widely believed that the Second Boer War had effectively been won.

The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights.

Keir Hardie Scottish socialist and labour leader

James Keir Hardie was a Scottish trade unionist and politician. He was a founder of the Labour Party, and served as its first parliamentary leader from 1906 to 1908.

This election was a landslide defeat for the Conservative Party and their Liberal Unionist allies, with the primary reason given by historians as the party's weakness after its split over the issue of free trade (Joseph Chamberlain had resigned from government in September 1903 in order to campaign for Tariff Reform, which would allow "preferential tariffs"). Many working-class people at the time saw this as a threat to the price of food, hence the debate was nicknamed "Big Loaf, Little Loaf". The Liberals' landslide victory of 125 seats over all other parties led to the passing of social legislation known as the Liberal reforms.

The Liberal Unionist Party was a British political party that was formed in 1886 by a faction that broke away from the Liberal Party. Led by Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain, the party formed a political alliance with the Conservative Party in opposition to Irish Home Rule. The two parties formed the ten-year-long coalition Unionist Government 1895–1905 but kept separate political funds and their own party organisations until a complete merger between the Liberal Unionist and the Conservative parties was agreed to in May 1912.

Free trade policy in which countries governments do not restrict imports from, or exports to, other countries

Free trade is a trade policy that does not restrict imports or exports; it can also be understood as the free market idea applied to international trade. In government, free trade is predominantly advocated by political parties that hold liberal economic positions while economically left-wing and nationalist political parties generally support protectionism, the opposite of free trade.

Joseph Chamberlain British businessman, politician, and statesman

Joseph Chamberlain was a British statesman who was first a radical Liberal, then, after opposing home rule for Ireland, a Liberal Unionist, and eventually served as a leading imperialist in coalition with the Conservatives. He split both major British parties in the course of his career.

This was the last general election in which the Liberals won an absolute majority in the House of Commons, and the last general election in which they won the popular vote. It was also the last peacetime election held more than five years after the previous one prior to passage of the Parliament Act 1911, which limited the duration of Parliaments in peacetime to five years. The Conservative Party's seat total of 156 MPs remains its worst result ever in a general election.

Parliament Act 1911 United Kingdom legislation

The Parliament Act 1911 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is constitutionally important and partly governs the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, which make up the two Houses of Parliament. The Parliament Act 1949 provides that the Parliament Act 1911 and the Parliament Act 1949 are to be construed together "as one" in their effects and that the two Acts may be cited together as the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949.


A coalition between the Conservative and Liberal Unionist parties had governed the United Kingdom since the general election of 1895. Arthur Balfour had served as Prime Minister from 1902 until 5 December 1905, when he chose to resign over growing unpopularity, instead of calling a general election. Balfour had hoped that under a Liberal government splits would reemerge, which would therefore help the Conservative Party achieve victory at the next election. [3]

Arthur Balfour British Conservative politician and statesman

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, was a British statesman and Conservative Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905. As Foreign Secretary under David Lloyd George, he issued the Balfour Declaration in November 1917 on behalf of the cabinet.

The incoming Liberal government chose to capitalise on the Conservative government's unpopularity and called an immediate general election one month later on 12 January 1906, which resulted in a crushing defeat for the Conservatives.

Conservative unpopularity

Example of a Liberal poster during the election Ten Years of Toryism.jpg
Example of a Liberal poster during the election

The Unionist government had become deeply divided over the issue of free trade, which soon became an electoral liability. This culminated in Joseph Chamberlain's resignation from the government in May 1903 to campaign for tariff reform in order to protect British industry from foreign competition. This division was in contrast to the Liberal Party's belief in free trade, which it argued would help keep costs of living down. [3]

Unionist government, 1895–1905 Government of the United Kingdom

A coalition of the Conservative and Liberal Unionist parties took power in the United Kingdom following the 1895 general election. Conservative leader Lord Salisbury was appointed Prime Minister and his nephew, Arthur Balfour, became Leader of the House of Commons, but various major posts went to the Liberal Unionists, most notably the Leader of the House of Lords, the Liberal Unionist Duke of Devonshire, who was made Lord President, and his colleague in the Commons, Joseph Chamberlain, who became Colonial Secretary. It was this government which would conduct the Second Boer War from 1899-1902, which was exploited by the government to help win a landslide victory at the 1900 general election.

The issue of free trade became the feature of the Liberal campaign, under the slogan 'big loaf' under a Liberal government, 'little loaf' under a Conservative government. It also commissioned a variety of posters warning the electorate over rises in food prices under protectionist policies, including one which mentioned that "Balfour and Chamberlain are linked together against free trade ... Don't be deceived by Tory tricks". [4]

The Boer War had also contributed to the unpopularity of the Conservative and Unionist government. The war had lasted over two and half years, much longer than had originally been expected, while details were revealed of the existence of 'concentration camps' where over 20,000 men, women and children were reported to have died because of poor sanitation.[ citation needed ]

The war had also unearthed the poor social state of the country in the early 1900s. This was after more than 40% of military recruits for the Boer War were declared unfit for military service, while in Manchester 8,000 of the 11,000 men who had been recruited had to be turned away for being in poor physical condition. This was after the 1902 Rowntree study of poverty in York showed that almost a third of the population lived below the 'poverty line', which helped to increase the calls for social reforms, something which had been neglected by the Conservative and Unionist government. [5]

The Conservative and Unionist Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour, had been blamed over the issue of 'Chinese Slavery', which was the use of Chinese-indentured labour in South Africa. This became controversial among the Conservative Party's middle-class supporters, who saw it as unethical, while the working class also objected to the practice, as white emigration to South Africa could have created jobs for the unemployed in Britain. [6]

Protestant Nonconformists were angered when Conservatives pushed through the Education Act 1902, which integrated denominational schools into the state system and provided for their support from taxes. The local school boards that they largely controlled were abolished and replaced by county governments that were usually controlled by Anglicans. Worst of all the hated Anglican schools would now receive funding from local taxes that everyone had to pay. One tactic was to refuse to pay local taxes. [7] The education issue played a major role in the Liberal victory in 1906, as Dissenter (nonconformist) Conservatives punished their old party and voted Liberal. However the Liberals failed repeatedly to repeal or modify the 1902 law. [8] Another issue which lost the Conservatives nonconformist votes was the Licensing Act 1904. Although the legislation aimed to reduce the number of public houses, it proposed to compensate brewers for the cancellation of their licence, leading many who adhered to temperance to denounce it as a "brewers' bill". [9]


UK General Election 1906
PartyLeaderStoodElectedGainedUnseatedNet% of total%No.Net %
  Liberal Henry Campbell-Bannerman 5283972239+21459.348.92,565,644+3.9
  Conservative & Lib. Unionist Arthur Balfour 557156525124623.343.42,278,0766.8
  Labour Repr. Cmte. Keir Hardie 502928 1 +274.34.8254,202+3.6
  Irish Parliamentary John Redmond 84826 1 +512.20.633,2311.2
  Ind. Conservative N/A9220+20.30.526,183
  Independent Labour N/A7 1 1 0+10.20.418,886
  Social Democratic Federation H. M. Hyndman 800000.418,446
  Ind. Conservative N/A9 1 1 0+10.20.315,972
  Scottish Workers George Carson 500000.314,877+0.2
  Free Trader John Eldon Gorst 500000.28,974
 Independent Liberal-Labour N/A 1 1 1 0+10.20.14,841
  Independent N/A300000.13,806
  Independent Nationalist N/A3 1 0000.20.01,800
  Independent Liberal N/A300 1 10.01,581
  Ind. Liberal Unionist N/A 1 00000.0153

Voting summary

Popular vote
Conservative and Liberal Unionist
Labour Repr. Cmte.
Irish Parliamentary

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats
Conservative and Liberal Unionist
Labour Repr. Cmte.
Irish Parliamentary

List of MPs who lost their seat in the 1906 United Kingdom general election

This is a list of MPs who lost their seat at the 1906 United Kingdom general election

PartyNameConstituencyOffice held whilst in ParliamentYear electedDefeated byParty
Liberal Unionist Archibald White Maconochie East Aberdeenshire 1900 Thomas Buchanan Liberal
H. O. Arnold-Forster Belfast West Secretary of State for War (1903-1905) 1892 Joseph Devlin Irish Parliamentary
Saville Crossley Halifax Paymaster-General (1902-1905) 1900 James Parker Labour
William Peel Manchester South, contesting Harrow 1900 James Gibb Liberal
Robert Finlay Inverness Burghs Attorney General of England and Wales (1900-1905) 1895 John Annan Bryce Liberal
Charles Seely Lincoln 1895 Charles Roberts Liberal
Charles McArthur Liverpool Exchange 1897 David MacIver Liberal
George Renwick Newcastle-under-Lyme 1900 Sir Alfred Seale Haslam Liberal
James Parker Smith Partick 1890 Robert Balfour Liberal
Sir Walter Thorburn Peebles and Selkirk 1886 Alexander Murray Liberal
John Stroyan West Perthshire 1900 David Charles Erskine Liberal
Robert Purvis Peterborough 1895 Granville Greenwood Liberal
Herbert Jessel St Pancras South 1896 Philip Whitwell Wilson Liberal
Alexander Henderson West Staffordshire 1898 Henry Duncan McLaren Liberal
Sir Cuthbert Quilter, 1st Baronet Sudbury 1885 William Heaton-Armstrong Liberal
Frederick Leveson-Gower Sutherland 1900 Alpheus Morton Liberal
John Spear Tavistock 1900 Hugh Luttrell Liberal
Edwin Durning-Lawrence Truro 1895 George Hay Morgan Liberal
Alfred Lyttelton Warwick and Leamington Secretary of State for the Colonies (1903-1905) 1895 Thomas Berridge Liberal
Conservative Archie Loyd Abingdon 1895 Edward Strauss Liberal
Coningsby Disraeli Altrincham 1892 William Crossley Liberal
Herbert Huntington-Whiteley Ashton-under-Lyne 1895 Alfred Scott Liberal
Albert Brassey Banbury 1895 Eustace Fiennes Liberal
Sir Charles Cayzer, 1st Baronet Barrow-in-Furness 1892 Charles Duncan Labour
Frederick Milner Bassetlaw 1890 Frank Newnes Liberal
Sir Wyndham Murray Bath 1892 Donald Maclean Liberal
Charles Pym Bedford 1895 Percy Barlow Liberal
Harry Cust Bermondsey 1890 George Cooper Liberal
Sir Mancherjee Bhownaggree Bethnal Green North East 1895 Edwin Andrew Cornwall Liberal
Samuel Ridley Bethnal Green South West 1900 Edward Pickersgill Liberal
Sir Elliott Lees, 1st Baronet Birkenhead 1894 Henry Vivian Liberal
George Goschen East Grinstead, contesting Bolton 1895 Alfred Henry Gill Labour
William Garfit Boston 1895 George Henry Faber Liberal
Ernest Flower Bradford West 1895 Fred Jowett Labour
James Bigwood Brentford 1886 Vickerman Rutherford Liberal
John Gordon Elginshire & Nairnshire, contesting Brighton 1895 Aurelian Ridsdale Liberal
John Eustace Jameson West Clare, contesting Chatham 1895 John Jenkins Labour
Charles Algernon Whitmore Chelsea 1886 Emslie Horniman Liberal
James Agg-Gardner Cheltenham 1874 John Sears Liberal
Lord Bingham Chertsey 1904 Francis Marnham Liberal
Robert Yerburgh Chester 1886 Alfred Mond Liberal
Raymond Greene Chesterton 1895 Edwin Samuel Montagu Liberal
Kenneth Balfour Christchurch 1895 Arthur Acland Allen Liberal
Benjamin Bathurst Christchurch 1895 Walter Essex Liberal
Sir John Randles Cockermouth 1895 Sir Wilfrid Lawson, 2nd Baronet, of Brayton Liberal
Sir William Hart Dyke, 7th Baronet Dartford Vice-President of the Committee of the Council on Education (1887-1892) 1865 James Rowlands Liberal
George Thomas Kenyon Denbigh Boroughs 1900 Clement Edwards Liberal
Arthur Henry Aylmer Morton Deptford 1897 C. W. Bowerman Labour
John Gretton South Derbyshire 1895 Herbert Raphael Liberal
Frederick Fison Doncaster 1895 Charles Norris Nicholson Liberal
William Brymer South Dorset 1891 Thomas Scarisbrick Liberal
George Goschen East Grinstead, contesting Bolton 1895 Alfred Henry Gill Labour
Sir Lindsay Lindsay-Hogg, 1st Baronet Eastbourne 1900 Hubert Beaumont Liberal
Henry Bowles Enfield 1889 James Branch Liberal
Claude Lowther Eskdale 1900 Geoffrey Howard Liberal
Edgar Vincent Exeter 1899 Sir George Kekewich Liberal
John Howard Faversham 1900 Thomas Napier Liberal
Edward Goulding Devizes, contesting Finsbury Central 1900 W. C. Steadman Liberal
Hayes Fisher Fulham Financial Secretary to the Treasury (1902-1903) 1885 Timothy Davies Liberal
Windham Wyndham-Quin South Glamorganshire 1895 William Brace Labour
Bonar Law Glasgow Blackfriars and Hutchesontown Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (1902-1905) 1900 George Barnes Labour
Charles Dickson Glasgow Bridgeton Lord Advocate (1903-1905) 1900 James William Cleland Liberal
John George Alexander Baird Glasgow Central 1886 Andrew Mitchell Torrance Liberal
Sir John Stirling-Maxwell, 10th Baronet Glasgow College 1895 Harry Watt Liberal
John Wilson Glasgow St. Rollox 1900 McKinnon Wood Liberal
James Reid Greenock 1900 Halley Stewart Liberal
Lord Hugh Cecil Greenwich 1895 Richard Jackson Liberal
St John Brodrick Guildford Secretary of State for India (1903-1905) 1880 Henry Cowan Liberal
Augustus Henry Eden Allhusen Hackney Central 1897 Albert Spicer Liberal
William Robert Bousfield Hackney North 1892 Thomas Hart-Davies Liberal
Thomas Herbert Robertson Hackney South 1895 Horatio Bottomley Liberal
Arthur Heath Hanley 1900 Enoch Edwards Liberal
Robert Hermon-Hodge Henley 1895 Philip Morrell Liberal
Edward Chapman Hyde 1900 Duncan Swann Liberal
Henry Blundell-Hollinshead-Blundell Ince 1895 Stephen Walsh Labour
Sir Charles Dalrymple, 1st Baronet Ipswich 1868 Felix Cobbold Liberal
Sir Benjamin Cohen, 1st Baronet Islington East 1892 George Radford Liberal
George Trout Bartley Islington North 1885 David Waterlow Liberal
Albert Rollit Islington South 1886 Thomas Wiles Liberal
Josceline Bagot Kendal 1892 Dudley Stewart-Smith Liberal
Sir Frederick Cook, 2nd Baronet Kennington 1895 Stephen Collins Liberal
Thomas Gibson Bowles King's Lynn 1892 Carlyon Bellairs Liberal
Mark MacTaggart-Stewart Kirkcudbrightshire 1885 Gilbert McMicking Liberal
Alan Egerton Knutsford 1883 Alfred John King Liberal
Frederick William Horner Lambeth North 1900 Horatio Myer Liberal
Gerald Balfour Leeds Central President of the Local Government Board (1905) 1885 Robert Armitage Liberal
Henry Cautley Leeds East 1900 James O'Grady Labour
Charles Bill Leek 1892 Robert Pearce Liberal
John Rolleston Leicester 1900 Ramsay MacDonald Labour
Sir James Rankin, 1st Baronet Leominster 1886 Edmund Lamb Liberal
Harry Samuel Limehouse 1895 William Pearce Liberal
William Lawrence Liverpool Abercromby 1885 J. E. B. Seely Liberal
Francis Lucas Lowestoft 1900 Edward Beauchamp Liberal
Sir William Bromley-Davenport Macclesfield Financial Secretary to the War Office (1902-1905) 1886 William Brocklehurst Liberal
Charles Hedley Strutt Maldon 1895 Thomas Bethell Liberal
Arthur Balfour Manchester East Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1902-1905) 1874 Thomas Gardner Horridge Liberal
Sir James Fergusson, 6th Baronet Manchester North East Postmaster General (1891-1892) 1885 J. R. Clynes Labour
William Johnson Galloway Manchester South West 1895 George Davy Kelley Labour
Samuel Sadler Middlesbrough 1900 Havelock Wilson Liberal
Harry Levy-Lewson Mile End 1900 Bertram Straus Liberal
Edward Pryce-Jones Montgomery 1900 John Rees Liberal
Henry Francis Compton New Forest 1905 Sir Robert Hobart Liberal
William Mount Newbury 1900 Frederick Coleridge Mackarness Liberal
Walter Richard Plummer Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1900 Walter Hudson Labour
George Renwick Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1900 Thomas Cairns Liberal
Richard Pilkington Newton 1899 James Seddon Labour
Sir Thomas Leigh Hare South West Norfolk 1892 Richard Winfrey Liberal
Sackville Stopford-Sackville Northamptonshire North 1900 George Nicholls Liberal
Edward FitzRoy Northamptonshire South 1900 Archibald Grove Liberal
Edward Bond Nottingham East 1895 Sir Henry Cotton Liberal
Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck Nottingham South 1895 Arthur Richardson Liberal
Francis Newdegate Nuneaton 1892 William Johnson Liberal
Sir Frederick Banbury Peckham 1892 Charles Clarke Liberal
Henry Duke Plymouth 1900 Charles Mallet Liberal
John Kerr Preston 1903 John Thomas Macpherson Labour
Sir William Tomlinson, 1st Baronet Preston 1882 Harold Cox Liberal
Ailwyn Fellowes Ramsey President of the Board of Agriculture (1905) 1887 Alexander Boulton Liberal
Sir Hugh Shaw Stewart, 8th Baronet East Renfrewshire 1886 Robert Laidlaw Liberal
John Lloyd Wharton Ripon 1886 H. F. B. Lynch Liberal
Clement Royds Rochdale 1895 Gordon Harvey Liberal
Charles Tuff Rochester 1903 Ernest Lamb Liberal
Louis Sinclair Romford 1897 John Bethell Liberal
John Macdona Rotherhithe 1892 Hubert Carr-Gomm Liberal
Thomas Dewar St George, Tower Hamlets 1900 William Wedgwood Benn Liberal
Henry Seton-Karr St Helens 1885 Thomas Glover Labour
Edward Robert Pacy Moon St Pancras North 1892 Willoughby Dickinson Liberal
Harry Robert Graham St Pancras West 1892 William Collins Liberal
Frederick Platt-Higgins Salford North 1895 William Pollard Byles Liberal
James Grimble Groves Salford South 1900 Hilaire Belloc Liberal
Lees Knowles Salford West 1886 George Wiliam Agnew Liberal
James Hope Sheffield Brightside 1900 Tudor Walters Liberal
Henry Chaplin Sleaford President of the Local Government Board (1895-1900) 1868 Arnold Lupton Liberal
Tankerville Chamberlayne Southampton 1900 Sir Ivor Philips Liberal
Sir James Heath, 1st Baronet North West Staffordshire 1892 Alfred Billson Liberal
Douglas Coghill Stoke-upon-Trent 1895 John Ward Liberal
Philip Foster Stratford-on-Avon 1901 Thomas Kincaid-Smith Liberal
Charles Cripps Stretford 1901 Harry Nuttall Liberal
John Stapylton Grey Pemberton Sunderland 1900 Thomas Summerbell Liberal
Charles Colston Thornbury 1892 Athelstan Rendall Liberal
Arthur Griffith-Boscawen Tunbridge 1892 Alfred Paget Hedges Liberal
Leverton Harris Tynemouth 1900 Herbert James Craig Liberal
James Bailey Walworth 1895 Charles James O'Donnell Liberal
Robert Pierpoint Warrington 1892 Arthur Crosfield Liberal
Frederick Halsey Watford 1874 Nathaniel Micklem Liberal
Robert Edmund Dickinson Wells 1899 Thomas Ball Silcock Liberal
Ernest Gray West Ham North 1895 Charles Masterman Liberal
The Lord Stanley Westhoughton Postmaster General (1903-1905) 1892 William Wilson Labour
James Morrison Wilton 1900 Levi Lapper Morse Liberal
Joseph Hoult Wirral 1900 William Lever Liberal
Sir Alfred Hickman, 1st Baronet Wolverhampton West 1892 Thomas Frederick Richards Liberal
E. G. Pretyman Woodbridge Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty (1903-1905) 1895 Robert Lacey Everett Liberal
George Herbert Morrell Woodstock 1895 Ernest Bennett Liberal
John Butcher York 1892 Hamar Greenwood Liberal
Liberal Joseph Andrews Barkston Ash 1905 George Lane-Fox Conservative
Joseph Dobbie Ayr Burghs 1904 George Younger Conservative
Freeman Freeman-Thomas Hastings 1900 Harvey du Cros Conservative
Michael Foster London University 1900 Philip Magnus Conservative
Sir Francis Evans, 1st Baronet Maidstone 1901 Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart Conservative
Allan Heywood Bright Oswestry 1904 William Clive Bridgeman Conservative
Charles Frederick Hutchinson Rye 1903 George Courthope Conservative
John Bamford Slack St Albans 1904 Hildred Carlile Conservative
Edward Charles Ellice St Andrews Burghs 1903 William Anstruther-Gray Liberal Unionist
Noel Buxton Whitby 1905 Gervase Beckett Conservative
Free Trader Arthur Elliot City of Durham Financial Secretary to the Treasury (1903) 1898 John Waller Hills Liberal Unionist


According to historian Lawrence Goldman:

The election of 1906 led eventually to old-age pensions, the Trade Boards Act of 1909 which applied minimum wages to the 'sweated trades', the redistributive 1909 'people's budget', the introduction of labour exchanges, the National Insurance Act of 1911, and the Parliament Act of that year which removed the House of Lords' veto on legislation from the Commons ... Though the eventual achievements of the parliament elected in 1906 were remarkable, the election was something of a fluke; the scale of the Liberal victory was in direct proportion to the scale of preceding Tory blunders but it exaggerated the degree of dependable Liberal support in the country. The subsequent elections in January and December 1910, during the crisis over the people's budget, saw the number of Liberal MPs reduced to 275 and 272 respectively, while Conservative support recovered and the party, together with their Liberal Unionist allies, took 273 and then 272 seats. [11]

Notable results

The landslide Liberal victory led to many Conservative and Unionist MPs losing what had previously been regarded as safe seats. This resulted in prominent Conservative ministers being unseated from their constituencies, including former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour. Only three of the Conservative cabinet which had served until December 1905 (one month before the election) held onto their seats, former Chancellor Austen Chamberlain, former Home Secretary Aretas Akers-Douglas, and former Secretary of State for War Hugh Arnold-Forster.

Manchester East

Arthur Balfour, who entered the general election as the Conservative Party leader and had until the month before been Prime Minister, unexpectedly lost his seat in the Manchester East constituency, a seat which he had represented since 1885. The result in Manchester East saw a large 22.4% swing to the Liberal candidate Thomas Gardner Horridge, much larger than the national 5.4% swing to the Liberals.

The Liberal candidate in Manchester East had been helped by a pact with the local Labour Party. Horridge said of his victory that "East Manchester is essentially a Labour constituency and the great Labour party has supported my candidacy very thoroughly and very loyally". He also said that "[Manchester East constituents] have returned me, I take it, first to uphold free trade, next to deal with Chinese labour, and after that to support legislation on the lines laid down in the programme of the Labour party, with which I am heartily in accord". [4]

Balfour's unseating became symbolic of the Conservative Party's landslide defeat. The result has since been called one of the biggest upsets in British political history and remains the only instance of a former Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition losing their seat in a general election. [12]

Gladstone–MacDonald pact

Prior to the 1906 general election, the Labour and Liberal parties negotiated an informal agreement to ensure the anti-Conservative vote was not split between the two parties. The Gladstone–MacDonald pact agreed in 1903 meant that, in 31 of the 50 seats where Labour Party candidates stood, the Liberal Party did not put up a candidate. This proved helpful to both parties, as 24 of Labour's 29 elected MPs came from constituencies where the Liberal Party agreed not to contest, while the pact allowed the Liberals to concentrate resources on Conservative/Liberal marginal constituencies.

See also

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Philip Oliver (politician) British politician

Philip Milner Oliver CBE was a radical British Liberal Party politician in the United Kingdom who served for two short terms as Member of Parliament (MP) for Manchester Blackley.

The Bolton by-election, 1912 was a parliamentary by-election held for the British House of Commons constituency of Bolton in Lancashire on 23 November 1912. Bolton returned two Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post voting system.

The City of London by-election, February 1906 was a parliamentary by-election held on 27 February 1906 for the British House of Commons constituency of City of London, which covered the "Square Mile" which was the United Kingdom's traditional financial district.

The Bury by-election, 1902 was a by-election held in England on 10 May 1902 for the House of Commons constituency of Bury in Lancashire.

The Cambridge University by-election was a Parliamentary by-election. It returned two Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post voting system.

The New Forest by-election was a Parliamentary by-election. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post voting system. It was the last by-election of the 27th Parliament to take place before the 1906 general election.

Unionist Free Food League

The Unionist Free Food League was a British pressure group formed on 13 July 1903 by Conservative and Liberal Unionist MPs who believed in free trade in order to campaign against Joseph Chamberlain's proposals for Tariff Reform, which would involve an import tax on food. About 40 Conservative and 20 Liberal Unionist MPs attended the initial meeting. Former Unionist Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Michael Hicks Beach became president of the group, replaced in October 1903 by the Liberal Unionist party leader Duke of Devonshire.


  1. Craig, F. W. S. (1974), British Parliamentary Election Results, 1885–1918, Macmillan
  2. BBC NEWS – Programmes – BBC Parliament – 1906: The Liberal landslide
  3. 1 2 Oxford DNB theme: The general election of 1906
  4. 1 2 Taylor, Ros (4 April 2005), "Hit for six", The Guardian, London
  5. thane (PDF), retrieved 22 April 2018
  6. Spencer, Scott (2010), "British Liberty Stained", commons.lib.jmu.edu
  7. Gullifer, N. R. (1982), "Opposition to the 1902 Education Act", Oxford Review of Education, 8 (1): 83–98, JSTOR   1050168
  8. Halévy, Élie (1956), The Rule of Democracy (1905–1914), pp. 64–90
  9. Thomas, Jo; Willis, Michael (2016). Wars and Welfare: Britain in Transition 1906-1957. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 2. ISBN   978-0-19-8354-598.
  10. All parties shown.
  11. Goldman, Lawrence, Oxford DNB theme: The general election of 1906
  12. Archived copy, archived from the original on 27 December 2015, retrieved 26 December 2015CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

Further reading