Despite being split between Parnellite and anti-Parnellite factions, the Irish Nationalist vote held up well. As the Liberals did not have a majority on their own, Salisbury refused to resign on hearing the election results and waited to be defeated in a vote of no confidence on 11 August. Gladstone formed a minority government dependent on Irish Nationalist support.
The Liberals had engaged in failed attempts at reunification between 1886 and 1887. Gladstone however was able to retain control of much of the Liberal party machinery, particularly in the form of the constituency organisation known as the National Liberal Federation. Gladstone used the annual NLF meetings as a platform to consolidate various Liberal causes, particularly the Newcastle meeting of 1891, which gave its name to the radical Newcastle programme. This programme placed Irish Home Rule first, followed by Welsh & Scottish disestablishment, reduction in factory work hours, free education, electoral reform, land reform, reform or abolition of the House of Lords, and the removal of duties on basic foods. This programme would later be disowned by the party leadership following the Liberal defeat in the 1895 election.
The totals above exclude two Irish candidates whose party affiliation was unclear to F. W. S. Craig at the time he compiled his voting figures: Col. J. C. Lowry who gained 897 votes standing for University of Dublin as either an Independent or Official Conservative, and John O'Connor Power who gained 609 votes standing in Mayo West as a Gladstonian Liberal. Craig labelled both candidates: "Others".