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What Disraeli really meant when he said “England does not love coalitions”

Nineteenth century Conservative leader Benjamin Disraeli‘s comment, “England does not love coalitions”, is a favourite amongst current Conservatives who are opposed to electoral reform and the coalitions which it may bring.

But what did Disraeli really mean when he said it on 15 December 1852? The words were uttered during a debate on the Conservative budget, which was under attack for proposing a deficit. What’s more, the day before he had tried to get the group of Radical MPs to agree to back him and eventually join the Cabinet.

In other words, it was more a matter of “England does not love coalitions, unless they include the Conservatives and support a budget deficit”.

Perhaps not quite the statement of principle which modern Conservatives should wheel out to bolster their own arguments…

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