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By G. W. Jones

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Additional resources for Borough Politics: A Study of the Wolverhampton Town Council, 1888–1964

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In 1900 the Trades Council had tried to find a Parliamentary Labour candidate, but had failed since it had not the money to finance his campaign. In 1903 the Trades Council selected T. F. ' His union promised to pay his election expenses and to continue to pay him a salary if elected. His official position in the union was as 'Parliamentary Agent', for which he was paid £300 a year. Hickman's seat was chosen as the battleground; no Liberal candidate came forward, and in I 906 Richards defeated Hickman by a majority of 168.

But when this controversy died, so did the binding force of the party. Its only distinctive policy seemed to be the defence of Nonconformity, an anachronistic position for a party to be in at a time when social questions were becoming more prominent. From 1907 their numbers dropped steadily year by year to the sixteen of 1914. Other local factors contributed to the Liberal decline before the First World War. Their very success in the East Wolverhampton constituency assisted their fall. In that seat they were safe from being unseated by either Conservatives or Labour, none of whom ever represented the seat or ever really came close to doing so.

Larkinson. 2 In 1927 a correspondent to the local paper looked back on forty-five years as a voter in the borough and said: 'There have always been cliques of Liberals The Political Background, r888-I9I9 35 campaign headquarters was most often a political club; for the Liberals the Liberal Club was a centre; the Conservatives used their Deanery Club and their working-men's clubs; and the Labour Party, too, had its base in its clubs. Never in a November election did members of the same party compete for office.

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