Ge­orge III med­dles to oust Fox and North

BBC History Magazine - - Snap Elections -

WHY WAS IT CALLED?

Bri­tain’s next snap elec­tion was sparked by a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis caused by a clash be­tween par­lia­ment and king.

In spring 1783, the rad­i­cal Whig Charles James Fox joined forces with Lord North to over­throw the rul­ing min­istry, headed by Lord Shel­burne. This en­raged Ge­orge III, who de­spised Fox – so much so that the king dis­missed the coali­tion and in­stalled Wil­liam Pitt the Younger as prime min­is­ter.

This in­ter­fer­ence by the monarch in the af­fairs of par­lia­ment was hugely con­tro­ver­sial and Pitt, un­der pres­sure from the Fox­ite ma­jor­ity in the Com­mons, de­cided to go to the coun­try to gain a man­date.

DID THE GAM­BLE PAY OFF?

Yes. Pitt, who had pub­lic opin­ion strongly be­hind him, won a ma­jor­ity of more than 100 seats. How­ever, Fox’s no­to­ri­ety and colour­ful rep­u­ta­tion were greatly en­hanced by Ge­or­giana, Duchess of Devon­shire, who can­vassed vig­or­ously for him, al­legedly ex­chang­ing kisses for votes.

Ge­or­giana, Duchess of Devon­shire, can­vass­ing votes for Charlesar­les James Fox in ex­changenge for kisses

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