Timothy Noël Peacock
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Dissolving myths
The day the Government fell
in The British tradition of minority government
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This chapter reconsiders the no confidence vote in an effort to examine main parties' strategy development in light of the British tradition of minority government. It also considers the Government's efforts to avoid the vote, the response of both the Government and Opposition, and the weighing up of formal approaches to other parties or individual initiatives to secure extra support. The chapter will examine how far the loss of the no confidence vote impacted on the subsequent election. The James Callaghan Government's defeat in a no confidence motion by 311 votes to 310 on 28 March 1979 represents perhaps one of the most dramatic moments of British parliamentary history in the late twentieth century. The events surrounding the confidence vote itself were retold in a full-length BBC thirtieth anniversary documentary, The Night the Government Fell, which included interviews with participants from different parties.

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