Liberal party

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Liberal Party
Liberal Party
Liberal Party logo
Party leader 1976-1988 David Steel
founding 1859
fusion March 2, 1988
(published in: Liberal Democrats )
Alignment Liberalism , left-wing liberalism
Colours) yellow
International connections Liberal International (LI)

The Liberal Party [ ˈlɪbəɹəl ˈpɑːti ] was a political party in Great Britain . It emerged in the 1830s from the Whig Party and the so-called Radicals , which were later joined by the supporters of Sir Robert Peel . In the British two-party system , it was the more reformist political force alongside the Conservative Party , which also advocated free trade. She alternated with the conservatives in government until 1922. In the following decades the Liberal Party gradually lost its importance, and in 1988 it finally united with the Social Democratic Party to form the Liberal Democrats .

UK Today there is a Liberal Party , the opponents of the merger with the Social Democratic Party was formed. But it is legally a new organization, not the legal successor of the Liberal Party, which was absorbed into the association.


The Liberal Unionist Party's secession over the question of Irish self-government weakened the Liberals. After the Conservative Prime Minister Arthur Balfour resigned in 1905, the Liberals came back to power under their leader Henry Campbell-Bannerman . In the subsequent elections in 1906 they were able to win a large majority. After Campbell-Bannermann's death, the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer Herbert Henry Asquith succeeded him. The rise of the Labor Party, however, gradually deprived the Liberals of their workers' voters, and it was replaced by the Labor Party in the role of the second major party. Before the Labor Party was founded in 1900, representatives of the working class, i.e. the trade unions, ran for the Liberals in the general election (Lib Lab) .

In 1931 the National Liberal Party split off . After the Second World War , their share of the vote reached a low point; then he recovered. Because of the majority vote , the Liberals were able to win only a few seats in the British House of Commons nationwide, despite a share of the vote of almost 20% in some cases.

In the general election of 1983 and 1987 , the Liberals formed an electoral alliance (The Alliance) together with the Social Democratic Party, which had split off from the Labor Party . In 1988 the two parties finally united to form the Liberal Democrats .

Liberal chairwoman from 1859 to 1988

Liberal chairman of the House of Commons from 1859 to 1916

1859–1865: Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
1865–1875: William Ewart Gladstone
1875-1880: Spencer Compton Cavendish
1880-1894: William Ewart Gladstone
1894–1898: William Vernon Harcourt
1899-1908: Henry Campbell-Bannerman
1908–1916: Herbert Henry Asquith (1925)

Chairwoman of the Liberal Party from 1916 to 1988


  • Roy Douglas: Liberals: The History of the Liberal and Liberal Democrat Parties . London: Hambledon & London, 2005; ISBN 1-85285-353-0
  • Detlev Mares: Goodbye Gladstone. The Liberal Party in Late Victorian Britain 1886-1906 . In: Jahrbuch zur Liberalismus-Forschung 19 (2007), pp. 137–162.
  • Trevor Wilson: The Downfall of the Liberal Party, 1914-1935 , Faber and Faber, London 2011, ISBN 978-0-571-28021-6

Web links

Commons : Liberal Party  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files