By Ivor Jennings
Sir Ivor Jennings' vintage account of the evolution of cupboard govt in England.
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Extra resources for Cabinet Government 3rd Edition
The Queen would not have been entitled to use her powers either for or against Home Rule. It was her duty to find a Government which could secure a majority in the House of Commons. The electorate had just returned a substantial Liberal majority which was led by Mr Gladstone. Under his leadership it had supported an amendment to the Address which, as Lord Salisbury rightly saw, compelled the resignation of the Government. But even if the majority in support of the motion had not been a compact group, it would have been out of accord with the precedents not to have applied to Mr Gladstone.
3rd series, 11, pp. 130-2. 7 Ibid. 3rd series, II, p. 132. Ibid. 3rd series, 11, p. 141. 37 THE CHOICE OF A PRIME MINISTER Government took place he considered 'that the King should send for Campbell-Bannerman, and not for Lord Spencer; on the ground that the former is the recognised leader of the Liberal party while the latter is only the leader of about 20 peers, and that the question as to whether C. B. 1 In 1905 Lord Esher noted: Great pressure is being put upon the King to send for Spencer and Campbell-Bannerman together and ask their advice.
It was done accordingly. In 1924, as in 1945 and 1951, there was no difficulty of any kind. In 1924 the Conservative party had a majority, and George V sent for Mr Baldwin; in 1945 the Labour party won the election and George VI 1 % Life and Letters of Sir Austen Chamberlain, II, p. 239. 3 Nicolson, King George V, p. 383. Ibid, 39 THE CHOICE OF A PRIME MINISTER sent for Mr Attlee; in 1951 the old war-horse, Sir Winston Churchill, came back as leader of the Conservative party. 1 George V agreed with Mr Baldwin and sent for MacDonald.