The British Labour Party

January 14, 1924

Report Outline
History
Mr. James Ramsay Macdonald

History

In the recent General Election on December 6, the British Labour Party returned 192 members to Parliament, making it the seconded strongest party in the House of Commons. As the Conservative Party no longer commands a majority, it is thought that soon after the reading of the Speech from the Throne, on January 15, the present government will be turned out and that the King will ask Mr. James Ramsay MacDonald, the leader of the Labour Party, to form a cabinet.

The Labour movement in England has shown a slow but steady growth since the formation of the Labour Representation League in 1869. Prom 1869 to 1893, Labour members were returned in varying numbers from 2 in 1869 to 15 in 1892. The movement received a new impetus by the formation of the Independent Labour Party at Bradford in 1893 and by the organisation of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900 but although these organisations were successful in returning a limited number of members to Parliament, they never achieved any real political unity until after the General Election of 1906 when 29 members were returned and the present British Labour Party was formed under that name. From that time on it became a national party with a definite programme founded on ideas, instead of a Trade Union Combination founded on status. During the war the Party steadily supported the Government and several of its members entered the Lloyd George Coalition Cabinet in 1916. In the post-armistice election, it returned only 61 members but in 1922, 142 members were elected and the Party became for the first time, the second in the House.

The following table shows the gradual rise to power of the Labour Party.

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