chapter  7
Provinces, Princes and Predictions: The Fate of the 1935 India Act
Pages 22

With Indian policy and the politics of it, settled by the end of 1934, it appeared that Hoare’s final task, getting the reforms through Parliament, would not be overtaxing. The Churchill family actually helped on the political side in early 1935, albeit unintentionally. Randolph Churchill, standing as a Die Hard, had launched an independent candidacy at the Wavertree by-election in Lancashire. He managed to split the Conservative vote, allowing Labour to gain what had been a very safe Tory seat. Although this was a Tory loss on the surface, the result had, for the pro-reformers, the gratifying effect of sealing their victory within the party, as Wavertree provided terrific proof that the wages of disunity were party losses.1 Malcolm Hailey, now retired in London, noted that the Tories, in the face of this danger, had begun to close ranks.2 Among the Die Hards, Lloyd was eager to keep up the fight despite, or perhaps because of, Wavertree, but Salisbury, now battling illness, appeared less enthusiastic, writing to Baldwin that he was “horrified to find the degree to which the disintegration of the Party ... has proceeded.” However, Salisbury admitted no responsibility whatever, and urged Baldwin to accommodate Die Hard concerns in order to “consolidate our own Party.”3 Salisbury’s request went unheard, since few in the party by that point saw any reason to bargain with those whose ineffective cantankerousness had threatened to wreck the party. Even the Primrose League had deserted the Die Hards in the face of a Labour by-election gain.4 In the immediate aftermath of Wavertree, Hoare secured a very large majority on the Second Reading of the Government of India Bill in late February 1935.