Liberal Government

Why did the Liberal Governments focus on Home Rule for Ireland 1911-1912?

  • Long history of Liberals attempting to give Ireland some degree of Home Rule. Increasing democracy fitted in with the Liberal view of the world
  • First Home Rule Bill1886 introduced by Gladstone defeated in the House of Lords
  • Second Home Rule Bill 1893 defeated in the House of Lords
  • It was official party policy in 1910 Election
  • The Liberals needed support from the Irish Nationalists to allow their legislation to be passed in the Commons. After the 1910 elections, the amount of seats for the Liberals 274 and the Conservatives 272 , and Labour with 40 meant the Liberals did not have a  majority without the support of the 80 Irish Nationalist MPs
  • The Liberals were very positive about granting self government following the successful granting of self government to the Boer Republics in South Africa
  • The Liberals admired the responsible attitude of John Redmond the leader of the Irish Nationalists
  • The passing of the Parliament Act in the autumn of 1911 prepared the way for Home Rule by constitutional means. The Lords could no longer stop Home Rule becoming law. This therefore removed a major obstacle in the way of Home Rule and the Liberals could now focus on it as it would get passed eventually.
  • The fear of civil war in Ireland if nothing was done about Home Rule. This fear grew as a result of the potential of Ulster being armed and powerful volunteer forces such as The Orange Order (set up to defend the Protestants against the Catholics). Also the rise of nationalist groups who were more extreme than Redmond’s Irish Nationalists
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