Disraeli ceased to be Prime Minister in April 1880. Parliament was dissolved on 24 March and voting began a week later. The results of the first day’s polling came as an unwelcome surprise: the Liberals made a net gain of fifteen seats in sixty-nine constituencies. By the following day Conservative hopes for victory were negligible. Gladstone, who had just undertaken a second whirlwind tour of Midlothian, announced in West Calder that the nation ‘had found its interests mismanaged, its honour tarnished, and its strength burdened and weakened by needless, mischievous, unauthorised, unprofitable engagements, and it has resolved that this state of things shall cease, and that right and justice shall be done’.1 Gladstone’s triumph in Midlothian was now complete: ‘I am stunned but God will provide.’
KeywordsForeign Policy European Rivalry Settlement Coloni British Empire Colonial Policy
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