By Chris Cook
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Additional resources for A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900–88
It was hardly surprising, against this background both in Parliament and in the country, that Rosebery's administration was short-lived. When, due to a ruse by the opposition Whips, the government was defeated in the Commons (early in 1895) over the CampbellBannerman army reforms, it was with a certain sense of relief that the Cabinet determined to leave office. Whilst the Liberals could point to some successful legislation - the establishment of parish councils, Harcourt's important fiscal innovation of graduated death duties, Henry Fowler's Indian legislation, together with the competent records of Asquith at the Home Office and Rosebery at the Foreign Office - the overall state of the party was one of confusion and disunity.
28 A Short History of the Liberal Party his own way - Harcourt to press the claims of Local Option, Morley those of Home Rule, while Rosebery sought to build the Liberal campaign on the issue of reforming the House of Lords. By 1895 the chief figures in the Liberal Party felt that they had been betrayed by one or another of their colleagues, and an air of personal recrimination and bitterness was not one which fostered productive legislation or electoral success. In addition the government found that the Newcastle Programme was frustrated by the tactics of the House of Lords, which rejected or seriously amended government Bills to deal with the liquor trade and education.
198. Liberalism in Eclipse 23 ter. What was even more crucial was the fact that although he could win a declaration of support from the Birmingham Liberals for his own plan for 'Home Rule All Round', Schnadhorst and the rest of the National Liberal Federation had gone over to the support of Gladstone. This decision of the NLF was crucially important. At the meeting of the General Committee in May 1886 it expressed overwhelming support for the idea of Irish self-government. At this Chamberlain withdrew and six members of the General Committee resigned.