Northern Ireland

Tories in Minority of Nearly 100 – On this day in 1923

Stanley Baldwin, who was appointed British Prime Minister on May 22 1923.
Stanley Baldwin, who was appointed British Prime Minister on May 22 1923. Stanley Baldwin, who was appointed British Prime Minister on May 22 1923.

December 8 1923

AT the conclusion of the day’s declaration at ten o’clock last night, the state of parties was as follows:- Conservatives 253, Liberals 152, Labour 192, Others 5.

Thus in a House of 602, the Opposition total 349, the Government being in a minority of 96.

The last House of Commons was constituted as follows:- Conservatives 346, Labour 144, Independent Liberals 67, National Liberals 50, Other Parties 8. Total 615.

The following results are yet to be declared: Tyrone and Fermanagh, Derbyshire, Western Argyll, Inverness, Western Isles (Inverness), Orkney and Shetland, and the following Universities: Oxford, London, English Combined and University of Wales.

The Press Association says: After Mr [Stanley] Baldwin’s return to London last night Col FS Jackson, chairman of the Unionist Party Organisation, went across to Downing Street from headquarters and had a long interview with the premier.

Few ministers are now in town, but it is expected that a meeting of the Cabinet will be called at the earliest moment to consider the unprecedented position which has arisen through the ill-fortune of the government at the polls.

The question of the moment which ministers have to face is whether in view of the fact that on the meeting of Parliament they will be at the mercy of Labour and Liberal parties – should these bodies act together on an Amendment to the Address, the Prime Minister should at once tender his resignation to the King.

A Constitutional Crisis

With the results of about a dozen contests only (including two in the Six Counties) yet unknown as we write, the position of British parties can be estimated now.

When the Conservative government rushed the general election they were 346 strong in the British House of Commons. Now they number 253 – a fall of 93. Labour’s representatives were 144; they are 192 just now – an increase of 48. Liberalism had 117 devotees all told – ILs and NLs. They are now 152 – 35 better. There were 9 members of “other parties” – 3 reckoned as Irish Nationalists. The “others” are 6 at present – with the prospect of an additional 2 from Fermanagh-Tyrone. All the “others” are anti-Conservatives.

Thus the present situation is: Government 253, Anti-Government 350… Therefore “Baldwin Must Go”.

Even the appearance at Westminster of 11 admirers from N.E. Ulster will not save him. Then the “deadlock” will occur. When the King “sends for” Mr Baldwin, the unlucky Conservative leader – unhappy in his advisers and his weaknesses – will probably suggest Lord Derby as a substitute for himself.

The calling of a snap election by British prime minister Stanley Baldwin failed spectacularly, and Labour Party leader Ramsay MacDonald, with the backing of Herbert Asquith’s Liberals, subsequently formed a minority government, becoming the first Labour prime minister in British history.