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Dilke, Sir Charles

Dilke, Sir Charles (1843–1911). Liberal politician. Dilke is supposed to have ruined his chance of becoming prime minister by his involvement as co-respondent in a famous divorce case (Crawford v. Crawford) in 1885–6; but he probably would not have made it anyway. Before this happened he was better known as a radical, a close ally of Joseph Chamberlain, an early propagandist for the British empire (through his Greater Britain, published in 1868), and one of the most boring speakers in the House of Commons. His highest government post was as president of the Local Government Board in Gladstone's second ministry. After the scandal he was turfed out by his constituency (Chelsea), but found another one shortly afterwards (the Forest of Dean), and devoted the rest of his time in Parliament to championing (boringly) the interests of exploited colonial peoples.

Bernard Porter

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Dilke, Sir Charles Wentworth

Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke (dĬlk), 1843–1911, British statesman. A radical leader in the Liberal party, he helped pass the parliamentary Reform Acts of 1884–85 as well as laws giving the municipal franchise to women, legalizing labor unions, and limiting working hours. Dilke's political career was effectively ended in 1885, when he was named as correspondent in a notorious divorce case.

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