Adullamites

The Adullamites were a short-lived rogue (or anti-reform) faction within the UK Liberal Party in 1866. The name is a biblical reference to the cave of Adullam.

After the death of Palmerston in 1865, a second Reform Act became a priority for the Liberal Party. However, not all sections of the party agreed with this agenda. The most important internal opposition came from the Adullamites. The faction was led by Robert Lowe and Lord Elcho; the name was coined by John Bright, a biblical reference that would have been widely understood at the time. After repeated attacks on William Ewart Gladstone's bill, they proposed a Vote of No Confidence on 18 June 1866, which was carried by 335 to 304. This vote gave the Prime Minister, Russell, cause to resign. There was an abortive attempt to form a Conservative/Adullamite coalition. However, the Adullamites were not prepared to accept Disraeli as leader and negotiations broke down. This led to the formation of Derby's 3rd Conservative Minority Administration - who, ultimately, proposed their own reform bill.


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