By Ivor Jennings
Sir Ivor Jennings' vintage account of the evolution of cupboard govt in England.
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Additional info for Cabinet Government 3rd Edition
But the Queen may have an effective choice where a Prime Minister in office offers a personal resignation or dies. The death of Lord Palmerston in 1865 does not provide a very good example because there was little doubt that Lord Russell, who had already been Prime Minister, ought to be his successor. Again, on the resignation of Lord Derby in 1868 there was little doubt that Mr Disraeli must be appointed (although the Government had no majority). The resignation of Mr Gladstone in 1894 provides a better example.
Mr Gladstone had resigned his leadership in 1874. Lord Granville led the Liberals in the House of Lords and Lord Harrington was leader in the House of Commons. Nevertheless, Mr Gladstone had led the opposition to the Government in the country, and the election was regarded by the ordinary elector as a personal contest between him and Lord Beaconsfield. The Queen sent for Lord Hartington, but he and Lord Granville had already agreed that Mr Gladstone must be Prime Minister. He recognised that no Government could be formed without Mr Gladstone's participation.
I, p. 597* There is no evidence that the Labour party would have objected to Lord Halifax: see Dalton, The Fateful Years, pp. 307, 309. 24 THE CHOICE OF A PRIME MINISTER a party has a clear majority. The Government must clearly be formed out of that majority and, if it has a recognised leader, he will be the Prime Minister. Such a situation usually arises as the result of a general election. In 1841 the Whigs were defeated at the general election, but met Parliament and were then defeated on a no-confidence amendment to the Address.
Cabinet Government 3rd Edition by Ivor Jennings