By 1918, a general election in Britain and Ireland was long overdue.
The previous one had been held in 1910, but with the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 the Government’s term had been extended. In Ireland, the majority of seats were held by the Irish Parliamentary Party. They had won 73 seats in the general election of December 1910 and held the balance of power in the House of Commons. In exchange for their support, the Prime Minister had agreed to grant Home Rule to Ireland. The Government of Ireland Act 1914, known as the Home Rule Bill, was passed in September, but was immediately suspended, pending the end of the war. The prolonged suspension of Home Rule as the war dragged on helped to create the conditions in which the 1916 Rising took place. By the time the 1918 election was called, the political landscape in Ireland had changed utterly.