Scope and Content

Labour Party political posters concerning the Party programme, the threat ofwar, Spanish civil war and paid holidays.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Labour Party

In the 1895 General Election the Independent Labour Party put up 28candidates but won only 44,325 votes. James Keir Hardie (1856-1915), theleader of the party believed that to obtain success in parliamentaryelections, it would be necessary to join with other left-wing groups.

On 27th February 1900, representatives of all the socialist groups in Britain(the Independent Labour Party, the Social Democratic Federation and theFabian Society, met with trade union leaders at the Memorial Hall inFarringdon Street, London. After a debate the 129 delegates decided to passHardie's motion to establish 'a distinct Labour group in Parliament, whoshall have their own whips, and agree upon their policy, which must embrace areadiness to cooperate with any party which for the time being may be engagedin promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour.' To make thispossible the Conference established a Labour Representation Committee (LRC).This committee included two members from the Independent Labour Party, twofrom the Social Democratic Federation, one member of the Fabian Society, andseven trade unionists.

Ramsay MacDonald (1866-1937) was chosen as the secretary of the LRC. As hewas financed by his wealthy wife, Margaret MacDonald (died 1911) he did nothave to be paid a salary. The LRC put up fifteen candidates in the 1900General Election and between them they won 62,698 votes. Two of thecandidates, Keir Hardie and Richard Bell (1866-1937) won seats in the Houseof Commons. The party did even better in the 1906 election with twenty ninesuccessful candidates. Later that year the LRC decided to change its name tothe Labour Party.


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