The 1905 General Election

Arthur Balfour, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1902-1905.

Long time readers will know I’m not exactly enamoured with the work of Norman Friedman, so the following may not be a surprise. While checking something in his The British Battleship I was struck by a mention of a British General Election in 1905. There was, of course, no such thing. Arthur Balfour, the Unionist Prime Minister, resigned on 4 December 1905 and was succeeded by the Liberal leader, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the following day. However, Parliament was not dissolved, and a General Election called, until 8 January 1906. Hence why the resulting election is known, even by Wikipedia, as the 1906 United Kingdom General Election. And yet Friedman makes no fewer than five mentions of a 1905 election, and not consistently either. The reader may make of it what they will. I’m just disappointed.

“In October 1905 the Conservatives lost a snap election.”

“In the late 1905 General Election the Liberals, led at that time by Henry Campbell-Bannerman, defeated the Tories.”

“In November 1905 the Tory Government called an election.”

“By that time the Conservatives had lost the November 1905 election.”

“The 1905 election came so late in the programme cycle that the incoming Liberal Government felt unable to change the 1906-7 programme.”

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