How did Stanley Baldwin survive as Tory Party leader for so long?

Stanley Baldwin is remembered by most as a successful Conservative Prime minister, governing the country on three separate occasions between May 1923 to January 1924, from November 1924 to June 1929, and from June 1935 to May 1937.

But for the early years of his leadership, Baldwin was of questionable talent as a leader. Stanley Baldwin was popular enough to command enormous majorities at the ballot box by the mid-1930s, but he forced a hung parliament in 1923 when an election was arguably unnecessary (allowing for the first Labour Government) and again in 1929. Many political parties have lost their position for far less than this. It seems that he should have lost his mandate in 1923, as most leaders would have. What was it about Baldwin, who had many internal enemies, that allowed him to remain leader despite odds? Was there no clear alternative to succeed him?

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