Volume 1. The Origins to 1937: Proposals Deferred- Book One: The Origins to 1911- Book Two: 1911–1937
The contribution of the House of Lords to this balance is all too often overlooked. In this richly documented two-volume work, the author offers a detailed examination of the Lords’ constitutional position and the predicament they faced as the Commons increasingly championed popular rule. With a landowning membership based on the hereditary principle, the Lords struggled to adapt. Yet, valiant attempts were made. The author gives us the first thorough, full-length history of the Lords’ ambiguous responses to the new democracy and the stream of arguments, proposals and bills raised for reform of their House.
Drawing on speeches, letters, reports and memoranda of the times (some never previously published), the book brings to life the inner wranglings and arresting personalities, the hopes and anxieties and the sheer frustrations of a House divided between entrenched interests and idealism, and often threatened by progressives outside.
The two books in Volume One cover the period from the medieval origins of the House of Lords and proceed, through many tumultuous events, to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Chapter 25: Lord Rosebery Again: 1910
← i. 496 | i. 497 → CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE
Lord Rosebery Again: 1910
Asquith’s unequivocal claim in the Commons on 21 February that the absolute veto the Lords had on legislation ‘should disappear’ caused shudders in the Upper House. Radicals in and out of parliament rose to exact vengeance. It was not reform of the House of Lords they wanted, but its disappearance once and for all. The Lords were now seized with panic. Their state of mind is well illustrated by the communications with which Lord Selborne pestered Lord Lansdowne:1
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