A Brief History of British Politics

A Brief History of British PoliticsIn 1603, King James I sat on the thrones of Ireland and England. For the next decade, Ireland, Scotland and England (the latter of which included Wales), were governed by one person, even though they each had separate parliaments and governments. In the 18th century, Scotland and England were united via the Acts of Union of 1707, and became known as Great Britain. And then, almost a hundred years later, Ireland became a part of the British Kingdom in 1801.

Scotland’s and Ireland’s respective parliaments were dissolved for good, and their politicians started to attend London’s Houses of Parliament. The House of Commons, House of Lords and the Crown were in charge of making decisions regarding the whole of the United Kingdom. Changes were afoot however, and when 1922 arrived, Ireland’s mainly Catholic regions parted from Great Britain, and the only part of Ireland which remained joined to the United Kingdom was Northern Ireland’s Protestant region.

The political groups which transformed into the Liberal and Conservative parties came about from a coalition of the Tory and Whig parties of the 19th Century. And then in 1900, the Labour Party was established. In 1924, the latter generated its initial minority government, but that was superseded in 1931 by a Conservative victory. Labour were in power until the WWII, when a noble alliance of each of the main political parties attended to the business of the government. They were responsible to their collective leader, the staunch conservative Winston Churchill. Churchill headed the government until 1945, yet a short time after victory in war, Labour defeated him.

Between 1945 and 1970, there were eight elections. Jointly, the Conservative and Labour parties proclaimed a victorious win by bringing in the majority of seats in Wales, Scotland and England. Furthermore, they were given between 88 and 98% of all the votes. Yet over time, the domination of this two parties coalition started to weaken, and in early 1974, the Liberals gained 19% of the national vote. During the same period, the Scottish National Party enjoyed its own success.

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