Liberal Unionists

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The Liberal government's proposal for Irish Home Rule and land reform in 1886 caused substantial opposition within the party and the fall of the government in June 1886. The opponents of Gladstone's Irish settlement, known to themselves as Liberal Unionists, believed Home Rule would lead to separation. After the 1886 election, when about 55 Liberal Unionists were elected, and the failure of talks in 1887, several returned to the Liberal Party. In the 1890s the Liberal Unionists became more closely linked with the Unionists, Chamberlain and Devonshire entering Salisbury's government in 1895. They split over tariff reform in the 1900s, some following Chamberlain into protection, others forming, with some Tories, the Unionist Free Food League. The Liberal Unionists fused with the Conservative Party in 1912 and their members were admitted to the Carlton Club.

Subjects: British History.

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