?Explain why the Constitutional crisis happened during 1909-1911 Essay

Explain why the constitutional crisis happened during 1909-1911

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A constitutional crisis is whereby the traditional principle of governance is broken. A constitutional crisis occurred in Britain during 1909 as the proposed ‘peoples budget’ was rejected by the House of Lords even though it had gained a huge majority of the House of Commons (379 to 149). The House of Lords did not traditionally veto any financial bill e.g. the budget; therefore the veto on the people’s budget put forward by Lloyd George caused tension between the two houses. The budget proposed to increase the tax on the rich with a ‘super tax’ and new land taxes.

These proposals angered the conservatives because they were rich and most of their wealth was from land so the taxes seemed to be directed at them which seemed unfair toward them. Because of this conservatives were strongly against this bill and as they made up the majority in the House of Lords they rejected the bill which demonstrated a power struggle in the political system and was the trigger cause to the constitutional crisis. Furthermore, another reason why the constitutional crisis happened was because of the disagreements over the home rule of Ireland. This can be seen as a long term cause of the constitutional crisis as it been disputed between liberals and conservatives for a number of years prior to 1909. Since 1892 liberals wanted pass an Irish home rule bill which would give Ireland independence however conservatives disagreed to the proposed bill and vetoed it several times. Once again this dispute between the House of Lords and commons highlighted the power struggle. Moreover, the most significant cause of the constitutional crisis was the fact that the conservatives had the overall majority in the House of Lords.

After the liberal landslide in 1906 the house of commons was dominated by liberals so any bill the liberal party put forward would almost certainly pass the commons; however conservatives still had ‘real’ power as they could veto a bill which they done with several bills e.g.(home rule of Ireland and the peoples budget). There was an evident power struggle and liberals felt that the conservatives were vetoing bills because it was a show of power; however it could be argued that the liberals put these bills through deliberately as they knew the Lords would reject them and therefore this would lead to a crisis. In conclusion, the constitutional crisis happened due to various reasons but the most significant was the dominance that the conservatives had in the House of Lords.

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