This can be interpreted as (i) an independent, (ii) a member of both parties, or (iii) a liberal-leaning member of the Conservative party. In the context, I favor (ii). Just to complicate matters, however, please note that Halton (147) and Terry (285) quote the Queen of the Fairies as saying "Liberal-Unionist," which was a group that splintered off from Gladstone's Liberal party in 1886, some four years after the opera was written. Allen's First Night Gilbert and Sullivan (3) shows "Liberal-Conservative." All of which proves that even the durable Savoy operas are subject to change, or even -- as in this case -- later switching back to the original.

Act I