This election was a landslide defeat for the Conservative Party and their Liberal Unionist allies, with the primary reason given by historians as the party's weakness after its split over the issue of free trade (Joseph Chamberlain had resigned from government in September 1903 in order to campaign for Tariff Reform, which would allow 'preferential tariffs'). Many working-class people saw this as a threat to the price of food, hence the debate was nicknamed 'Big Loaf, Little Loaf'. The Liberals' landslide victory of 125 seats over all other parties led to the passing of social legislation known as the Liberal reforms.
This was the last election in which the Liberals won an absolute majority in the House of Commons, and the last election in which they won the popular vote. It was also the last peacetime election held more than five years after the previous one prior to passage of the Parliament Act 1911, which limited the duration of Parliaments in peacetime to five years.