Liberal Unionists

The Home Rule movement led by Charles Parnell was an attempt to re-establish an Irish parliament to be responsible for internal affairs. William Gladstone, the leader of the Liberal Party, eventually became convinced of the need for Irish independence and in 1886 he made the first attempt to persuade Parliament to pass a Home Rule Bill. The bill that proposed an Irish Parliament in Dublin was defeated in the House of Commons.

The Irish Home Rule proposal split the Liberal Party and in 1889 Joseph Chamberlain established the National Liberal Union. In 1886 he formed an alliance with the Conservative Party. In the 1895 General Election 70 Liberal Unionists were elected to the House of Commons. The Conservative Party won the election and the new prime minister, the Marquis of Salisbury, gave Chamberlain the post of Colonial Secretary in his government.