Following the 1708 election the fortunes of the Whigs seemed at last to be rising. During the summer, news of Marlborough’s victory at Oudenarde brought the ministry a fresh burst of popularity. In November the senior Junto politicians were given office in the Cabinet, the first time since William III’s reign. Yet in less than two years their political world was collapsing around them, culminating in a crushing election defeat in 1710. Very rapidly, the ministry succumbed to growing opposition in the Commons on account of the war and the belief that the Whigs were attempting to undermine the Church of England.
At the election in May 1708 there were contests in 95 (35 per