Labour Party (UK)Labour Party Leader Gordon Brown Founded February 27, 1900Headquarters 39 Victoria Street
London, SW1H 0HA IdeologyDemocratic socialism
International affiliation Socialist InternationalEuropean affiliation Party of European SocialistsEuropean Parliament Group Party of European SocialistsOfficial colours Red Website
The Labour Party is a political party in the United Kingdom. Founded at the start of the 20th century, it has been since the 1920s the principal party of the centre-left in Great Britain—that is, England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, where the Social Democratic and Labour Party occupies a roughly similar position on the political spectrum (although people in Northern Ireland are permitted to join the Labour Party).
Labour surpassed the Liberal Party as the main opposition to the Conservatives in the early 1920s. It has had several spells in government, first as minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-31, then as a junior partner in the wartime coalition from 1940-1945, and then as a majority government, under Clement Attlee in 1945-51 and under Harold Wilson in 1964-70. Labour was in government again in 1974-79, under Wilson and then James Callaghan, though with a precarious and declining majority.
The current national Labour government won a landslide 179 seat majority in the 1997 general election under the leadership of Tony Blair, its first general election victory since October 1974 and the first general election since 1970 in which it had exceeded 40% of the popular vote. The party's large majority in the House of Commons was slightly reduced to 167 in the 2001 general election and more substantially reduced to 66 in 2005. Labour is also the leading partner in the coalition Welsh Assembly Government, is the second largest party in the Scottish Parliament, and has representation in the European Parliament. The current party leader is Gordon Brown.
Between January and March 2008, the Labour Party received just over £3 million in donations and are £17 million in debt; compared to the Conservatives' £6 million in donations and £12 million in borrowing, the Electoral Commission declared on 22 May 2008.
- 1 Party ideology
- 2 Party constitution and structure
- 3 History
- 3.1 Founding of the party
- 3.2 Early years, and the rise of the Labour Party
- 3.3 First Labour governments under MacDonald (1924 and 1929-31)
- 3.4 Opposition during the 1930s
- 3.5 Wartime coalition
- 3.6 Post-War victory under Attlee
- 3.7 The "Thirteen Wasted Years"
- 3.8 The 1960s and 1970s
- 3.9 The 'Wilderness Years' (1979-1997)
- 3.10 New Labour
- 4 Electoral performance
- 5 Leaders of the Labour Party
- 6 Deputy leaders of the Labour Party since 1922
- 7 Leaders of the Labour Party in the House of Lords since 1924
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
- 12 Other British political parties
The Labour Party grew out of the trade union movement and socialist political parties of the 19th century, and continues to describe itself as a party of democratic socialism. Labour was the first political party in Great Britain to stand for the representation of the low-paid working class and it has traditionally been the working class who are known as the Labour Party grassroots and traditional members and voters Traditionally, the party was in favour of socialist policies such as public ownership of key industries, government intervention in the economy, redistribution of wealth, increased rights for workers and trade unions, and a belief in the welfare state and publicly funded healthcare and education.
Since the mid-1980s, under the leadership of Neil Kinnock, John Smith and Tony Blair the party has moved away from its traditional socialist position towards what is often described as the "Third Way" adopting some free market and Thatcherite policies, after losing four general elections between 1979 and 1997.
This has led many observers to describe the Labour Party as social democratic or even neo-liberal rather than democratic socialist. Blair himself has described New Labour's political position as a "Third Way". The current Labour government have brought in socialist policies such as introducing a minimum wage and increasing the spending on the NHS and education.
Party constitution and structure
- Main article: Labour Party Rule Book
The Labour Party is a membership organisation consisting of Constituency Labour Parties, affiliated trade unions, socialist societies, and the Co-operative Party, with which it has an electoral agreement. Members who are elected to parliamentary positions take part in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP). The party's decision-making bodies on a national level formally include the National Executive Committee (NEC), Labour Party Conference, and National Policy Forum (NPF) — although in practice the Parliamentary leadership has the final say on policy. Questions of internal party democracy have frequently provoked disputes in the party.
For many years, Labour has held to a policy of uniting Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by consent, and had not allowed residents of Northern Ireland to apply for membership, instead supporting the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) which takes the Labour whip at the House of Commons. Yet Labour has a unionist faction in its ranks, many of whom assisted in the foundation in 1995 of the UK Unionist Party lead by Robert McCartney. The 2003 Labour Party Conference accepted legal advice that the party could not continue to prohibit residents of the province joining, but the National Executive has decided not to organise or contest elections there.
The party had 198,026 members on 31 December 2005 according to accounts filed with the Electoral Commission which was down on the previous year. In that year it had an income of about £35 million (£3.7 million from membership fees) and expenditure of about £50 million i.e. high due to the general election.
Party electoral manifestos have not contained the term socialism since 1992, although when Clause 4 was abolished the words "the Labour Party is a democratic socialist party" were added to the party's constitution.
Founding of the partyThe Independent Labour Party, founded in 1893
The Labour Party's origins lie in the late 19th century numeric increase of the urban proletariat and the extension of the franchise to working-class males, when it became apparent that there was a need for a political party to represent the interests and needs of those groups. Some members of the trade union movement became interested in moving into the political field, and after the extensions of the franchise in 1867 and 1885, the Liberal Party endorsed some trade-union sponsored candidates. In addition, several small socialist groups had formed around this time with the intention of linking the movement to political policies. Among these were the Independent Labour Party, the intellectual and largely middle-class Fabian Society, the Social Democratic Federation and the Scottish Labour Party.
In the 1895 General Election the Independent Labour Party put up 28 candidates but won only 44,325 votes. Keir Hardie, the leader of the party believed that to obtain success in parliamentary elections, it would be necessary to join with other left-wing groups.
Labour Representation CommitteeKeir Hardie, one of the Labour Party's founders and first leader
In 1899 a Doncaster member of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, Thomas R. Steels, proposed in his union branch that the Trade Union Congress call a special conference to bring together all the left-wing organisations and form them into a single body which would sponsor Parliamentary candidates. The motion was passed at all stages by the TUC, and this special conference was held at the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, London on February 27-28, 1900. The meeting was attended by a broad spectrum of working-class and left-wing organisations; trade unions representing about one third of the membership of the TUC delegates. 
After a debate the 129 delegates passed Hardie's motion to establish "a distinct Labour group in Parliament, who shall have their own whips, and agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to cooperate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour." This created an association called the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), meant to coordinate attempts to support MPs, MPs sponsored by trade unions and representing the working-class population. It had no single leader. In the absence of one, the Independent Labour Party nominee Ramsay MacDonald was elected as Secretary. He had the difficult task of keeping the various strands of opinions in the LRC united. The October 1900 "Khaki election" came too soon for the new party to effectively campaign. Only 15 candidatures were sponsored, but two were successful: Keir Hardie in Merthyr Tydfil and Richard Bell in Derby.
Support for the LRC was boosted by the 1901 Taff Vale Case, a dispute between strikers and a railway company that ended with the union ordered to pay £23,000 damages for a strike. The judgement effectively made strikes illegal since employers could recoup the cost of lost business from the unions. The apparent acquiescence of the Conservative government of Arthur Balfour to industrial and business interests (traditionally the allies of the Liberal Party in opposition to the Conservative's landed interests) intensified support for the LRC against a government that appeared to have little concern for the industrial proletariat and its problems. The LRC won two by-elections in 1902–1903.Labour Party Plaque from Caroone House 8 Farringdon Street (demolished 2004)
In the 1906 election, the LRC won 29 seats — helped by the secret 1903 pact between Ramsay Macdonald and Liberal Chief Whip Herbert Gladstone, which aimed at avoiding Labour/Liberal contests in the interest of removing the Conservatives from office.
In their first meeting after the election, the group's Members of Parliament decided adopt the name "The Labour Party" (February 15, 1906). Keir Hardie, who had taken a leading role in getting the party established, was elected as Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party (in effect, the Leader), although only by one vote over David Shackleton after several ballots. In the party's early years, the Independent Labour Party (ILP) provided much of its activist base as the party did not have an individual membership until 1918 and operated as a conglomerate of affiliated bodies until that date. The Fabian Society provided much of the intellectual stimulus for the party. One of the first acts of the new Liberal government was to reverse the Taff Vale judgement.
Early years, and the rise of the Labour Party
The December 1910 General Election saw 42 Labour MPs elected to the House of Commons.
During the First World War the Labour Party split between supporters and opponents of the conflict and opposition within the party to the war grew as time went on. Ramsay MacDonald, a notable anti-war campaigner, resigned as leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party and Arthur Henderson became the main figure of authority within the Party and was soon accepted into H. H. Asquith's War Cabinet, becoming the first Labour Party member to serve in government.
Despite mainstream Labour Party's support for the Coalition, the Independent Labour Party was instrumental in opposing mobilisation through organisations such as the Non-Conscription Fellowship and a Labour Party affiliate, the British Socialist Party organised a number of unofficial strikes.
Arthur Henderson resigned from the Cabinet in 1917 amidst calls for Party unity, being replaced by George Barnes. The growth in Labour's local activist base and organisation was reflected in the elections following the War, with the co-operative movement now providing its own resources to the Co-operative Party after the armistice. The Co-operative Party later reached an electoral agreement with the Labour Party.
Following the war The Liberal Party went into rapid decline. With the party suffering a catastophic split between supporters of leader David Lloyd George and former leader H. H. Asquith. This allowed the Labour Party to co-opt much of the Liberals' support.
With the Liberals in disarray, Labour won 142 seats at the 1922 General Election making it the second largest political group in the House of Commons and the official opposition to the Conservative Government. After the election, the now rehabilitated Ramsay MacDonald was voted the first official leader of the Labour Party.
First Labour governments under MacDonald (1924 and 1929-31)Ramsay MacDonald, the first Labour Prime Minister, 1924, 1929–35 (National from 1931-35)
The 1923 general election was fought on the Conservatives' protectionist proposals; although they got the most votes and remained the largest party, they lost their majority in parliament, requiring a government supporting free trade to be formed. So with the acquiescence of Asquith's Liberals, Ramsay MacDonald became Prime Minister in January 1924 and formed the first ever Labour government, despite Labour only having 191 MPs (less than a third of the House of Commons).
Because the government had to rely on the support of the Liberals, it was unable to get any socialist legislation passed by the House of Commons. The only significant measure was the Wheatley Housing Act which began a building programme of 500,000 homes for rent to working-class families.
The government collapsed after only nine months when the Liberals voted for a Select Committee inquiry into the Campbell Case, a vote which MacDonald had declared to be a vote of confidence. The ensuing general election saw the publication, four days before polling day, of the notorious Zinoviev letter, which implicated Labour in a plot for a Communist revolution in Britain, and the Conservatives were returned to power, although Labour increased its vote from 30.7% of the popular vote to a third of the popular vote - most of the Conservative gains were at the expense of the Liberals. The Zinoviev letter is now generally believed to have been a forgery.
In opposition, Ramsay MacDonald continued with his policy of presenting the Labour Party as a moderate force in politics. During the General Strike of 1926 he opposed strike action arguing that the best way to achieve social reforms was through the ballot box.
At the 1929 general election the Labour Party for the first time became the largest grouping in the House of Commons with 287 seats, and 37.1% of the popular vote (actually slightly less than the Conservatives). However, MacDonald was still reliant on Liberal support to form a minority government.the original "liberty" logo, in use until 1983
The government however, soon found itself engufed in crisis; The Wall Street Crash of 1929 and eventual Great Depression occurred soon after the government came to power, and the crisis hit Britain hard. By the end of 1930 the unemployment rate had doubled to over two and a half million.
The government had no effective answers to the crisis. By the summer of 1931, a dispute over whether to introduce large cuts to public spending split the government. With the economic situation worsening, MacDonald agreed to form a "National Government" with the Conservatives and the Liberals.
On August 24 1931 MacDonald submitted the resignation of his ministers and led a small number of his senior colleagues in forming the National Government with the other parties. This move caused great anger within the Labour Party and MacDonald and his supporters were then expelled from the Labour Party and formed the National Labour Party. The remaining Labour Party, now led by Arthur Henderson, and a few Liberals went into opposition.
Soon after this, a General Election was called. The 1931 election resulted in a landslide victory for the National Government, and was a disaster for the Labour Party which won only 52 seats, 225 fewer than in 1929.
Opposition during the 1930s
Arthur Henderson, who had been elected in 1931 as Labour leader to succeed MacDonald, lost his seat in the 1931 General Election. The only former Labour cabinet member who survived the landslide was the pacifist George Lansbury, who accordingly became party leader.
The party experienced a further split in 1932 when the Independent Labour Party, which for some years had been increasingly at odds with the Labour leadership, opted to disaffiliate from the Labour Party. The ILP embarked on a long drawn out decline.
Lansbury resigned as leader in 1935 after public disagreements over foreign policy. He was replaced as leader by his deputy Clement Attlee. The party experienced a revival at the 1935 General Election, winning a similar number of votes to those attained in 1929 and actually, at 38% of the popular vote, the highest percentage that Labour had ever achieved, securing 154 seats.
The party was brought back into government in 1940 as part of a wartime coalition government: When Neville Chamberlain resigned as Prime Minister after the defeat in Norway in spring 1940, and incoming Prime Minister Winston Churchill decided that it was important to bring the other main parties into the government and have a Wartime Coalition similar to that in the First World War. Clement Attlee became Lord Privy Seal and a member of the War cabinet, and was effectively (and eventually formally) Deputy Prime Minister for the remainder of the duration of the War in Europe.
A number of other senior Labour figure took up senior positions: the trade union leader Ernest Bevin as Minister of Labour directed Britain's wartime economy and allocation of manpower; the veteran Labour statesman Herbert Morrison became Home Secretary; Hugh Dalton was Minister of Economic Warfare and later President of the Board of Trade; and A. V. Alexander resumed the role of First Lord of the Admiralty he had held in the previous Labour government. The party generally performed well in government, and its experience there may have been partly responsible for its post-war success.
Post-War victory under Attlee
With the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, Labour resolved not to repeat the Liberals' error of 1918, and withdrew from the government to contest the 1945 general election (July 5) in opposition to Churchill's Conservatives. Surprising many observers, Labour won a landslide victory, winning just under 50% of the vote with a majority of 145 seats.Clement Attlee: Labour Prime Minister 1945-51
Clement Attlee's government proved to be one of the most radical British governments of the 20th century. It presided over a policy of selective nationalisation of major industries and utilities, including the Bank of England, coal mining, the steel industry, electricity, gas, telephones, and inland transport (including the railways, road haulage and canals). It developed the "cradle to grave" welfare state conceived by the Liberal economist William Beveridge. To this day, the party still considers the creation in 1948 of Britain's publicly funded National Health Service under health minister Aneurin Bevan its proudest achievement.
Attlee's government also began the process of dismantling the British Empire when it granted independence to India in 1947. This was followed by Burma (Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) the following year.
With the onset of the Cold War, at a secret meeting in January 1947, Attlee, and six cabinet ministers including foreign minister Ernest Bevin, secretly decided to proceed with the development of Britain's nuclear deterrent, in opposition to the pacifist and anti-nuclear stances of a large element inside the Labour Party.
Labour won the 1950 general election but with a much reduced majority of five seats. Soon after the 1950 election, things started to go badly wrong for the Labour government. Defence became one of the divisive issues for Labour itself, especially defence spending (which reached 14% of GDP in 1951 during the Korean War). These costs put enormous strain on public finances, forcing savings to be found elsewhere. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Hugh Gaitskell introduced prescription charges for NHS prescriptions, causing Bevan, along with Harold Wilson (President of the Board of Trade) to resign over the dilution of the principle of free treatment.
Soon after this, another election was called. Labour narrowly lost the October 1951 election to the Conservatives, despite their receiving a larger share of the popular vote and, in fact, their highest vote ever numerically.
Most of the changes introduced by the 1945-51 Labour government however were accepted by the Conservatives and became part of the "post war consensus", which lasted until the 1970s
The "Thirteen Wasted Years"
Following their defeat in 1951 the party underwent a long period in opposition lasting thirteen years. The party suffered an ideological split during the 1950s, and the postwar economic recovery meant that the public was broadly contented with the Conservative governments of the time. Attlee remained as leader until his retirement in 1955.
His replacement Hugh Gaitskell struggled with internal divisions within the party in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and Labour lost the 1959 general election. Gaitskell's sudden death in 1963 made way for Harold Wilson to lead the party.
The 1960s and 1970s
Labour in government under Wilson (1964-1970)Harold Wilson, Labour Prime Minister 1964–1970 and 1974-1976
A downturn in the economy, along with a series of scandals in the early 1960s (the most notorious being the Profumo affair), engulfed the Conservative government by 1963. The Labour party returned to government with a wafer-thin 4 seat majority under Wilson in the 1964 election, and increased their majority to 96 in 1966 election.
Events derailed the wave of optimism which swept Labour to power in 1964. Wilson's government struggled with economic problems over the balance of payments and an ultimately doomed attempt to stave off devaluation of the pound.
Wilson's government however was responsible for a number of social and educational reforms such as legalisation of abortion and homosexuality, and the abolition of the death penalty for murder. The 1960s Labour government also expanded comprehensive education and created the Open University.
Labour unexpectedly lost the 1970 general election to the Conservatives under Edward Heath. Heath's government however soon ran into trouble over Northern Ireland and a dispute with miners in 1973 which led to the "three-day week".
Labour returned to power again under Wilson a few weeks after the February 1974 general election, forming a minority government with Ulster Unionist support. The Conservatives were unable to form a government as they had fewer seats, even though they had received more votes. It was the first General Election since 1924 in which both main parties received less than 40% of the popular vote, and was the first of six successive General Elections in which Labour failed to reach 40% of the popular vote. In a bid for Labour to gain a majority, a second election was soon called for October 1974 in which Labour, still with Harold Wilson as leader, scraped a majority of three, gaining just 18 seats and taking their total to 319.
Labour in power (1974-1979)
In government, the Labour Party's internal splits over Britain's membership of the European Economic Community (EEC) which Britain had entered under Edward Heath in 1972, led to a national referendum on the issue in 1975, in which two thirds of the public supported continued membership.James Callaghan: Labour Prime Minster 1976-79
The Labour Government struggled for much of its time in office with severe economic problems and a precarious and declining majority in the commons. Fear of advances by the natiuobnalist parties, particularly in Scotland, led to the suppression of a report from Scottish Office economist gavin McCrone which suggested that an independent Scotland would be 'chronically in surplus' and to secret collusion with Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives. Harold Wilson unexpectedly resigned as prime minister in 1976. He was replaced by James Callaghan.
By 1977 Callaghan was heading a minority government after several by-election losses and defections to the breakaway Scottish Labour Party. This forced Labour to do deals with other parties. A pact was negotiated with the Liberal leader David Steel in 1977. the resultant Lib-Lab pact lasted one year. After this Labour was forced into making good their election promise to hold referendums on Scottish and Welsh devolution. In Scotland the majority of voters approved the proposition, but an amendment by George Cunningham MP which effectively meant that electors who did not cast their votes counted as 'no' voters prevented the erection of a Scottish Assembly.
The Wilson and Callaghan governments in the 1970s tried to control inflation (which had reached 26.9% in 1975) by instituting a policy of wage restraint. Although this innitially was reasonably successful, it led to increasingly strained relations between the government and the trade unions.
During the winter of 1978-79 there were widespread strikes in favour of higher pay rises which caused significant disruption to everyday life. The strikes affected lorry drivers, railway workers, car workers and local government and hospital workers. These came to be dubbed as the "Winter of Discontent".
The perceived relaxed attitude of Callaghan to the crisis reflected badly upon public opinion of the government's ability to run the country. After the withdrawal of SNP support for the government, the Conservatives put down a vote of no confidence, which was held and passed by one vote on 28 March 1979, forcing a general election.
In the 1979 general election, Labour suffered electoral defeat to the Conservatives led by Margaret Thatcher. The numbers voting Labour hardly changed between February 1974 and 1979, but in 1979 the Conservative Party achieved big increases in support in the Midlands and South of England, mainly from the ailing Liberals, and benefited from a surge in turnout.
The 'Wilderness Years' (1979-1997)
Following their defeat at the 1979 election, the Labour Party underwent a period of bitter internal rivalry in the Labour Party which had become increasingly divided between the ever more dominant left wingers under Michael Foot and Tony Benn (whose supporters dominated the party organisation at the grassroots level), and the right under Denis Healey.
The election of Michael Foot as leader in 1980, dismayed many on the right of the party, who believed that Labour was becoming too left-wing. In 1981 a group of four former cabinet ministers from the right and centre of the Labour Party (Shirley Williams, William Rodgers, Roy Jenkins, and David Owen) issued the "Limehouse Declaration" and formed the breakaway Social Democratic Party.
Margaret Thatcher's government was initially deeply unpopular due to high unemployment and inflation. However the success of the Falklands War in 1982 revived her popularity. The Labour Party was defeated by a landslide in the 1983 general election winning only 27.6% of the vote, their lowest share since 1918. Labour won only half a million votes more than the SDP-Liberal Alliance which had attracted the votes of many moderate Labour supporters.
Michael Foot resigned as leader and was replaced by Neil Kinnock, who progressively moved the party towards the centre. Labour improved its performance at the 1987 general election, gaining 20 seats reducing the Conservative majority to 102 from 143 in 1983, despite a sharp rise in turnout.
Margaret Thatcher was replaced as prime minister by John Major in 1990. By the time of the 1992 general election, the economy was in recession and Labour looked like it could win. The party had reformed to such an extent that it was perceived as a credible government-in-waiting. Most opinion polls showed the party to have a slight lead over the Conservatives, although rarely sufficient for a majority. In the event the Conservatives were returned to power but with a much reduced majority of 20. Although Labour's support was comparable to the February and October 1974 and May 1979 General Elections, the overall turnout was much larger.
Kinnock resigned as leader and was replaced by John Smith. Soon after the 1992 election, the Conservative government ran into trouble, when on 'Black Wednesday' it was forced to leave the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. After this, Labour moved ahead in the opinion polls as the Conservatives became unpopular. John Smith died suddenly from a heart attack in May 1994. His death made way for Tony Blair to lead the Party.
New LabourRecent logo of Labour Party
Tony Blair moved the party further to the right, adopting policies which broke with Labour's socialist heritage at the 1995 mini-conference, in a strategy to increase the party's appeal to "middle England".Tony Blair Ex-Labour Prime Minister 1997-2007
"New Labour" was first termed as an alternative branding for the Labour Party, dating from a conference slogan first used by the Labour Party in 1994 which was later seen in a draft manifesto published by the party in 1996, called New Labour, New Life For Britain. The rise of the name coincided with a rightwards shift of the British political spectrum; for Labour, this was a continuation of the trend that had begun under the leadership of Neil Kinnock. "New Labour" as a name has no official status but remains in common use to distinguish modernisers from those holding to more traditional positions who normally are referred to as "Old Labour".
- Main articles: Current Labour government (UK), Premiership of Tony Blair, and Premiership of Gordon Brown
With the unpopularity of John Major's government, the Labour party won the 1997 election with a landslide majority of 179.
Among the early acts of Tony Blair's government were the establishment of the National minimum wage, the devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the re-creation of a city-wide government body for London; the Greater London Authority.
Labour went on to win the 2001 election with a similar majority to 1997. Tony Blair controversially allied himself with President George W Bush in supporting the Iraq War, which lost his government much support; at the 2005 election, Labour was returned to power with a much reduced majority.
In Labour lost the Scottish General Election in 2007 and Tony Blair stood down as prime minister and was replaced by Gordon Brown. During May 2008, Labour suffered heavy defeats in the London mayoral election, local elections and the Crewe and Nantwich by-election, culminating in the party registering its worst ever opinion poll result since records began in 1943, of 23%.
Electoral performanceA graph showing the percentage of the popular vote received by major parties in general elections, 1832-2005. The rapid rise of the Labour party after its founding during the Victorian era is clear, and the party is now considered as one of the dominant forces in British politics. Election Number of votes for Labour Share of votes Seats Outcome of election 190062,698 1.8% 2 ConservativeVictory 1906321,663 5.7% 29 LiberalVictory 1910 (January)505,657 7.6% 40 Hung parliament(Liberal minority government) 1910 (December)371,802 7.1% 42 Hung parliament (Liberal minority government) 1918† 2,245,777 21.5% 57 Liberal/Conservative Coalition Victory 19224,076,665 29.7% 142 Conservative Victory 19234,267,831 30.7% 191 Hung parliament (Labour minority government) 19245,281,626 33.3% 151 Conservative Victory 1929‡ 8,048,968 37.1% 287 Hung parliament (Labour minority government) 19316,339,306 30.8% 52 National GovernmentVictory 19357,984,988 38.0% 154 National Government Victory 194511,967,746 49.7% 393 Labour Victory 195013,266,176 46.1% 315 Labour Victory 195113,948,883 48.8% 295 Conservative Victory 195512,405,254 46.4% 277 Conservative Victory 195912,216,172 43.8% 258 Conservative Victory 196412,205,808 44.1% 317 Labour Victory 196613,096,629 48.0% 364 Labour Victory 197012,208,758 43.1% 288 Conservative Victory 1974 (February)11,645,616 37.2% 301 Hung parliament (Labour minority government) 1974 (October)11,457,079 39.2% 319 Labour Victory 197911,532,218 36.9% 269 Conservative Victory 19838,456,934 27.6% 209 Conservative Victory 198710,029,807 30.8% 229 Conservative Victory 199211,560,484 34.4% 271 Conservative Victory 199713,518,167 43.2% 419 Labour Victory 200110,724,953 40.7% 413 Labour Victory 20059,562,122 35.3% 356 Labour Victory
†The first election held under the Representation of the People Act 1918 in which all men over 21, and most women over the age of 30 could vote, and therefore a much larger electorate.
‡The first election under universal suffrage in which all women aged over 21 could vote.
Leaders of the Labour Party
The post of Leader of the Labour Party was created in 1922. Before this (1906-22) the post was known as Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party.Portrait Entered office Left office Length of Leadership Date of Birth and Death 1 Keir Hardie17 February190622 January19081 year, 11 months, 5 days 15 August1856- 26 September19152 Arthur Henderson22 January190814 February19102 years, 3 weeks, 2 days 13 September1863- 20 October19353 George Nicoll Barnes14 February19106 February191111 months, 3 weeks, 2 days 2 January1859- 21 April19404 James Ramsay MacDonald6 February19115 August19143 years, 5 months, 4 weeks, 2 days 12 October1866- 9 November19375 Arthur Henderson5 August191424 October19173 years, 2 months, 2 weeks, 5 days (See Box No.2) 6 William Adamson24 October191714 February19213 years, 3 months, 3 weeks 2 April1863- 23 February19367 John Robert Clynes14 February192121 November19221 year, 9 months, 1 week 27 March1869- 23 October19498 James Ramsay MacDonald21 November19221 September19318 years, 9 months, 1 week, 4 days (See Box No.4) 9 Arthur Henderson1 September193125 October19321 year, 1 month, 3 weeks, 3 days (See Box No.2) 10 George Lansbury25 October19328 October19352 years, 11 months, 1 week, 6 days 21 February1859- 7 May194011 Clement Attlee8 October193514 December195520 years, 2 months, 6 days 3 January1883- 8 October196712 Hugh Gaitskell14 December195518 January19637 years, 1 month, 4 days 9 April1906- 18 January196313 George Brown† 18 January196314 February19633 weeks, 6 days 2 September1914- 2 June198514 Harold Wilson14 February19635 April197613 years, 1 month, 3 weeks, 1 day 11 March1916- 24 May199515 James Callaghan5 April19763 November19804 years, 6 months, 4 weeks, 1 day 27 March1912- 26 March200516 Michael Foot3 November19802 October19832 years, 10 months, 4 weeks, 1 day 23 July1913- present 17 Neil Kinnock2 October198318 July19928 years, 9 months, 2 weeks, 2 days 28 March1942- present 18 John Smith18 July199212 May19941 year, 9 months, 3 weeks, 3 days 13 September1938- 12 May199419 Margaret Beckett† 12 May199421 July19942 months, 1 week, 2 days 15 January1943- present 20 Tony Blair21 July199424 June200712 years, 11 months, 3 days 6 May1953- present 21 Gordon Brown24 June2007Present 20 February1951- present
†Although these were technically leaders of the Labour Party, they only assumed this role because of the death of the incumbent and were not elected to the post. They were in effect acting leaders.
Deputy leaders of the Labour Party since 1922
- John Robert Clynes 1922–1931
- Jointly John Robert Clynes 1931–1932 and William Graham 1931–1932 (died in office)
- Clement Attlee 1932–1935
- Arthur Greenwood 1935–1945
- Herbert Morrison 1945–1955
- James Griffiths 1955–1959
- Aneurin Bevan 1959–1960 (died in office)
- George Brown 1960–1970
- Roy Jenkins 1970–1972
- Edward Short 1972–1976
- Michael Foot 1976–1980
- Denis Healey 1980–1983
- Roy Hattersley 1983–1992
- Margaret Beckett 1992–1994
- John Prescott 1994–2007
- Harriet Harman 2007–present
Leaders of the Labour Party in the House of Lords since 1924
- Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane 1924-1928
- Charles Cripps, 1st Baron Parmoor 1928-1931
- Arthur Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Shulbrede 1931-1935
- Harry Snell, 1st Baron Snell 1935-1940
- Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison 1940-1952
- William Jowitt, 1st Earl Jowitt 1952-1955
- Albert Victor Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough 1955-1964
- Francis Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford 1964-1968
- Edward Shackleton, Baron Shackleton 1968-1974
- Malcolm Shepherd, 2nd Baron Shepherd 1974-1976
- Fred Peart, Baron Peart 1976-1982
- Cledwyn Hughes, Baron Cledwyn of Penrhos 1982-1992
- Ivor Richard, Baron Richard 1992-1998
- Margaret Jay, Baroness Jay of Paddington 1998-2001
- Gareth Williams, Baron Williams of Mostyn 2001-2003
- Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos 2003-2007
- Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland 2007-
- Co-operative Party
- Labour Co-operative
- History of British Socialism
- Labour leadership election
- List of organisations associated with the British Labour Party
- List of Labour Party (UK) MPs
- List of other Labour Parties
- Politics of the UK
- Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 2007
- Welsh Labour
- Scottish Labour Party
- Social Democratic and Labour Party
- Liberal Democrat Party
- Conservative Party
- Socialist Party (successor to Militant)
- ^ New figures published showing political parties' donations and borrowing [[Electoral Commission (United Kingdom) The Electoral Commission 22 May 2008]
- ^ a b Labour's policies. Retrieved on 2007-07-21.
- ^ New Labour and Thatcherism: Political Change in Britain, Richard Heffernan, 2001; New Labour has picked up where Thatcherism left off, Stuart Hall, The Guardian, August 6, 2003; From Thatcherism to New Labour: Neo-Liberalism, Workfarism and Labour Market Regulation, Professor Bob Jessop, Lancaster University; New Labour, Economic Reform and the European Social Model, Jonathon Hopkin and Daniel Wincott, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 2006.
- ^ Labour Party membership form at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, ca. 1999. via Internet Archive. Accessed 31 March 2007. "Residents of Northern Ireland are not eligible for membership."
- ^ Labour NI ban overturned, BBC News. 1 October 2003. Accessed 31 March 2007.
- ^ The Labour Party - Financial Statements for 2005.
- ^ See, for instance, the 1899 Lyons vs. Wilkins judgement, which limited certain types of picketing
- ^ Mortimer, Jim, ‘The formation of the labour party - Lessons for today’ 2000 Jim Mortimer was a General Secretary of the Labour Party in the 1980s
- ^ The truth about Churchill's spy chief and the Zinoviev Letter.
- ^ a b Davies, A.J. (1996) To Build A New Jerusalem: The British Labour Party from Keir Hardie to Tony Blair, Abacus, ISBN 0349 108099
- ^ Clark, Sir George, Illustrated History Of Great Britain, (1987) Octupus Books
- ^ Reuters Brown hit by worst party rating, 30 May 2008
- ^ Thorpe, Andrew. (2001) A History Of The British Labour Party, Palgrave, ISBN 0-333-92908-x
- ^ Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell dies BBC News
- ^ George Brown was leader under Labour Constitution having been Deputy Leader at time of death of leader. Retrieved on 2007-06-25.
- ^ Harold Wilson retires BBC News
- ^ Died from Heart Attack while Leader of the Opposition. BBC News
- ^ Labour chooses Blair BBC News
- ^ First Labour Prime Minister since James Callaghan BBC News
- ^ First Labour leader to win three General Elections in a row BBC News
- Davies, A.J, To Build A New Jerusalem (1996) ISBN 0349108099
- Stephen Driver and Luke Martell, New Labour: Politics after Thatcherism, 1998, and Blair's Britain, 2002, Polity Press.
- Geoffrey Foote, The Labour Party's Political Thought: A History, Macmillan, 1997 ed.
- Martin Francis, Ideas and Policies under Labour 1945-51, Manchester University Press, 1997. ISBN 0719048338
- Roy Hattersley, New Statesman, May 10, 2004, 'We should have made it clear that we too were modernisers'
- David Howell, British Social Democracy, Croom Helm, 1976
- David Howell, 'MacDonald's Party, Oxford University Press, 2002.
- Ralph Miliband, Parliamentary Socialism, Merlin, 1960, 1972.
- Kenneth O. Morgan, Labour in Power, 1945-51,OUP 1984.
- Kenneth O. Morgan, Labour People: Leaders and Lieutenants, Hardie to Kinnock OUP, 1987.
- Henry Pelling and Alastair J. Reid, A Short History of the Labour Party, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005 ed.
- Ben Pimlott, Labour and the Left in the 1930s,Cambridge University Press, 1977.
- Raymond Plant, Matt Beech and Kevin Hickson (2004), The Struggle for Labour's Soul: understanding Labour's political thought since 1945, Routledge
- Clive Ponting, Breach of Promise (1964-70), Hamish Hamilton 1989.
- Greg Rosen, Dictionary of Labour Biography. Politicos Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1902301188
- Greg Rosen, Old Labour to New, Politicos Publishing, 2005. ISBN 1842750453
- Eric Shaw, The Labour Party since 1979: Crisis and Transformation, Routledge, 1994
- Andrew Thorpe, A History of the British Labour Party, Palgrave Macmillan, 2001
- Phillip Whitehead, The Writing on the Wall Michael Joseph, 1985.
- Patrick Wintour and Colin Hughes, Labour Rebuilt Fourth Estate, 1990.
- John Pilger, Freedom Next time Bantam Press 2006. ISBN 0593055527.
- Official Labour Party website
- Unofficial website with an archive of electoral manifestos and a directory of related websites
- Labourhome - unofficial Labour Party grassroots
- Labour History Group website
- Unofficial history website
- Guardian Unlimited Politics — Special Report: Labour Party
- Labour Party aggregated news (multilingual)
- Labour History Archive and Study Centre holds archives of the National Labour Party
Other British political partiesv • d • ePolitical parties in the United KingdomHouse of Commons(646): Labour (353) · Conservatives (194) · Liberal Democrats (63) · DUP (9) · SNP (6) · Sinn Féin (5)# · Plaid Cymru (3) · SDLP (3) · Independent Conservative (2) · Independent (2) · Ind KHHC (1) · Independent Labour (1) · UKIP (1) · Respect (1) · UUP (1) House of Lords(738): Labour (211) · Crossbencher (207) · Conservatives (205) · Liberal Democrats (77) · UKIP (2) · Bishops (26) · non-affiliated (12) · Conservative Independent (1) · Independent Labour (1) · Independent (1) Scottish Parliament(129): SNP (47) · Labour (46) · Conservatives (17) · Liberal Democrats (16) · Scottish Greens (2) · Independent (1) National Assembly for Wales(60): Labour (26) · Plaid Cymru (15) · Conservatives (12) · Liberal Democrats (6) · Independent (1) Northern Ireland Assembly(108): DUP (36) · Sinn Féin (28) · UUP (18) · SDLP (16) · Alliance (7) · Greens (NI) (1) · PUP (1) · Independent (1) London Assembly(25): Conservatives (11) · Labour (8) · Liberal Democrats (3) · Greens (E&W) (2) · British National Party (1) European Parliament
(78 of 732): Conservatives (ED, 28) · Labour (PES, 19) · Liberal Democrats (ELDR, 11) · UKIP (ID, 10) · Greens (E&W) (EGP, 2) · SNP (EFA, 2) • Plaid Cymru (EFA, 1) · Sinn Féin (EUL, 1) · UUP (ED, 1) · Independent (ADIE, 1) · Independent (NA, 1) · Independent (NA, 1) Minor parties: Co-operative Party · English Democrats · Forward Wales · Liberal · Mebyon Kernow · SSP · Socialist Labour · SolidarityNotes:
#Although Sinn Féin have five elected members and have offices at Westminster, they are abstentionistand therefore do not take their seats Portal:Politics- List of political parties- Politics of the United Kingdom
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