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The British tradition of minority government$
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Timothy Noël Peacock

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526123268

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526123268.001.0001

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Dissolving myths: the day the Government fell

Dissolving myths: the day the Government fell

(p.192) 9 Dissolving myths: the day the Government fell
The British tradition of minority government

Timothy Noël Peacock

Manchester University Press

This chapter challenges three myths regarding the Callaghan Government’s defeat in a no confidence vote on 28 March 1979: that the calling of the vote was a forgone conclusion; that the result of this vote was inevitable; and that the Government’s defeat in a no confidence vote was detrimental to its subsequent performance in the 1979 General Election. Internal strategic dialogues show how proactive both sides were, ranging from such examples as extensive discussions in Callaghan’s meeting with Government Whips to Conservative strategy memoranda regarding possible support for building an oil pipeline to secure UUP votes. Analysis of both Labour and Conservative approaches demonstrates how their experience of minority governance over the previous five years was important in conditioning their strategy when approaching the no confidence vote.

Keywords:   Confidence vote, No confidence, Defeat, 1979, Election, Whips, Strategy, UUP, Callaghan, Myths

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