This chapter explores how the reform party fared in the nation at large. The reform party did not depend on any one type of constituency or one particular class of electors for its existence. The MPs within the reform party represented constituencies up and down the country, and were returned by electorates whose composition varied widely. Although reform party MPs were returned by some of the largest electorates in the country, especially in London, they were also returned by some of the smaller electorates. The key to understanding the electoral geography of the reform party lies in the larger political contests which were being fought out in different constituencies at the time of the 1832 Reform Act. During the 1850s the reform party were unable to capitalize on or even register the second main development in constituency politics: the new radical politics which swept through some of the West Riding constituencies, triggered by the mood of anti-centralization and financial discontent.
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