Coupon Election

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The British general election of December 1918. Its name comes from the ‘coupon’, a letter of commendation from party whips, which was issued to Liberal and Conservative candidates who supported the continuation of the wartime coalition under Lloyd George. The election had been called after the armistice of 11 November 1918, so that Lloyd George could go to the Paris Peace Conference with the authority of a new parliament. Following an agreement between the Conservative Party and Lloyd George, around 150 Liberals were granted the Coupon. Basking in the endorsement of the man who had won the war, the Conservatives gained 335 seats, and the Coalition (‘Coupon’) Liberals 133. The main Liberal Party, led by Asquith, won only twenty‐eight seats, whilst Labour won sixty‐three. This represented a triumph for the Conservative Party, and made Lloyd George dependent on its support. The Liberals never recovered from the blow, and Labour had become the official opposition in parliament for the first time.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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