The victorious conclusion of the war, coupled with a great democratising reform for the peace, created a sense of expectation that the parliament elected in December 1918 could not more starkly have disappointed. There was widespread shock at the overnight transformation of party politics, and general disorientation and speculation. To the central criticism that the 1918 Reform Act had produced a deeply unrepresentative, and therefore undemocratic, house of commons, came complaints that the legislature had become merely an appendage of the executive, and parliamentary government had been supplanted by party government. Many opined that the authority of the house of commons had been undermined. This essay considers how the implications of the act were envisaged, and how they were experienced and reported. It will look at the legislature that resulted, its members, and how they adapted to, and changed, its procedures and conventions. Finally, it will reflect on the politics of the impact of the Reform Act, on the parties, on their policies, and on a new political environment that had been created. Through their writings at the time and their reflections subsequently, those who were members, and those who were observers, of parliament testified as to how they felt the house of commons had changed as a result of the impact of the 1918 Reform Act.
Parliamentary History – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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