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From the Parliamentary Collections
The constitutional drama of the 1911 Parliament Bill engulfed the House of Lords and two groups of Unionist peers emerged. The 'Hedgers' pragmatically supported the bill while the 'Ditchers' were vehemently opposed to it. This memorial banquet was held at the height of the crucial period preceding the final vote on the bill. The ‘No Surrender’ slogan exemplified the dogmatic rhetoric underpinning the Ditchers. The banquet was in honour of the group’s figurehead, Hardinge Stanley Giffard, 1st Earl of Halsbury (1823–1921), a Law Lord and former Lord Chancellor. His pugnacious approach personified the Ditchers. He believed that it was constitutionally improper to interfere with the hereditary principle on which the House of Lords was based. His determined lobbying tactics very nearly brought success, as the bill was carried by only seventeen votes. Halsbury remained in public life after the defeat and presided over the House of Lords inquiry into the 1913 Marconi financial scandal.
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