Defectors and the Liberal Party 1910–2010

A study of inter-party relationships

By Alun Wyburn-Powell

Defectors and the Liberal Party 1910–2010


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8769-1
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £70.00
  • Published Date: September 2012
  • BIC Category: Central / national / federal government, POLITICAL SCIENCE / American Government / National, Society & social sciences / Political parties, Politics, United States of America, USA, Political parties


This book is the first analysis of political defections over a long time span. It investigates all the Liberal/Liberal Democrat MPs and former MPs who defected from the party between the elections of December 1910 and May 2010 - around one sixth of all those elected - as well as the smaller number of inward defectors. Each of the 122 defections was an expert judgment on the state of the party at a specific date. The research investigates the timing and reasons for all the defections and reveals long-term trends and underlying causes and apportions responsibility between leaders for them. The author finds some significant differences which distinguished defectors from loyalists and draws wider conclusions about the underlying factors which lead MPs to defect.

This book will be of interest to students and lecturers of British politics and anyone interested in the relationship between British political parties in the last century.


Students of British political history will find much to enjoy here. The author's rich research pays dividends in contextualising each defection and it gives a valuable new perspective on the decline of the Liberal Party over the past one hundred years and their oft-overlooked cultural ties with the Conservatives.

"Dr Wyburn-Powell travelled far and laboured hard in the various archives to gather his fascinating material. His numerous research trips have certainly yielded fruit to enrich his truely pioneering, proundbreaking study"

(Dr J.Graham Jones, National Library of Wales, Journal of Liberal History 82, 2014)

It is recommended without reservation to historians and interested observers of British Politics.


Alun Wyburn-Powell is a Lecturer at the School of Historical Studies at the University of Leicester and at the Department of Journalism at City University, London


1 Introduction 2 Defectors and loyalists 3 Liberal defectors to Labour 4 Liberal defectors to the Conservatives 5 Liberal defectors to minor parties 6 Inward defectors 7 Conclusions Bibliography

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