The Guardians of the Public Purse
This chapter looks at how the reform party's much cherished notions of parliamentary sovereignty actually worked in practice during the late 1840s and early 1850s. As parliamentary independents, the reform party made use of the power of the Commons in a number of ways; through their select committee work, in government office when possible, and on the floor of the Commons by introducing their own bills. They also built bridges with other factions in parliament. Although the reform party often held the balance of power within the Commons, this parliamentary strategy did not in the end achieve the reform party's desired goal of pushing the Whigs in the direction of political and financial reform.
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