Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is the main centre-left political party in the United Kingdom. It is a social democratic party. It has been one of the UK's two main political parties from the early 20th century to the present day. It is currently the second largest party in the British House of Commons, with 262 out of 650 seats. It forms the Official Opposition. Its last leader was Jeremy Corbyn. The current Labour Party leader is Sir Keir Starmer. He was elected on 4 April 2020.
The Labour Party was in power in the United Kingdom government from 1997 to 2010. Now it sits in opposition. It was in power in the Scottish Parliament (in coalition with the Scottish Liberal Democrats) until 2007. It is the largest group in the London Assembly, although until May 2016 the Mayor of London was a Conservative party member. It is also the second largest party in local government.
Political beliefs[change | change source]
Most Labour Party supporters believe in the following things:
- The railways in the United Kingdom should be brought back into public ownership (also known as renationalising the railways).
- The government should invest money in expanding and upgrading public transport (e.g. buses and trains).
- Tax on billion and multi-million-pound businesses should be increased.
- Tax on the income of the top 5% of earners should be increased.
- The government should do more to tackle tax avoidance.
- Support for trade unions.
- The government should be able to place limits on how much landlords are able to charge rent (also known as rent controls).
- The minimum wage should be increased.
- Support workers rights.
- More council houses should be built.
- Opposition to austerity.
- Increase spending on the National Health Service (NHS).
- Support the welfare state.
- University tuition fees should be scrapped.
History[change | change source]
The party was officially formed in 1906, just after the general election, as a successor of the Labour Representative Committee formed in 1900. In 1918, the party made a new constitution with the commitment to socialism, or the socialization of the industry. This could be found in Clause 4. The Labour Party won the general election in 1945 for the first time. From 1951 Labour was in opposition for thirteen years, during which there were serious fights between the left and right wings of the party. The leader of the left wing was Aneurin Bevan. His supporters were called the "Bevanites". They wanted a less confrontational policy in foreign affairs and more socialist actions. The leaders of the right wing were Clement Attlee and Hugh Gaitskell. They believed that Western capitalism had changed a lot and that socialism and public ownership was not so important. Gaitskell tried to remove Clause 4 from the party constitution at the 1959 conference, but he could not.
In 1994, Tony Blair forced the Labour Party to drop Clause 4. This was an important step to change the party into "New Labour".
In 2015, dark horse candidate Jeremy Corbyn announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Labour Party. At the beginning, he was thought of as a socialist fringe candidate, but he later became the lead candidate in polls and got the support of the majority of trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party, along with those of three non-affiliated unions. On 12 September 2015, he was elected Leader of the Labour Party, with a landslide vote of 59.5% in the first round of the ballot.
Past Leaders (since 1906)[change | change source]
- Keir Hardie, 1906–1908
- Arthur Henderson, 1908–1910
- George Nicoll Barnes, 1910–1911
- Ramsay MacDonald, 1911–1914
- Arthur Henderson, 1914–1917
- William Adamson, 1917–1921
- John Robert Clynes, 1921–1922
- Ramsay MacDonald, 1922–1931
- Arthur Henderson, 1931–1932
- George Lansbury, 1932–1935
- Clement Attlee, 1935–1955
- Hugh Gaitskell, 1955–1963
- George Brown, 1963 (Acting)
- Harold Wilson, 1963–1976
- James Callaghan, 1976–1980
- Michael Foot, 1980–1983
- Neil Kinnock, 1983–1992
- John Smith, 1992–1994
- Margaret Beckett, 1994 (Acting)
- Tony Blair, 1994–2007
- Gordon Brown, 2007–2010
- Harriet Harman, 2010 (Acting)
- Ed Miliband, 2010–2015
- Harriet Harman, 2015 (Acting)
- Jeremy Corbyn, 2015–2020
- Keir Starmer, 2020–present
Labour Prime Ministers[change | change source]
|Name||Portrait||Country of birth||Time in Office|
|Ramsay MacDonald||Scotland||1924; 1929–1931|
|Harold Wilson||England||1964–1970; 1974–1976|
References[change | change source]
- Brivati & Heffernan 2000: "On 27 February 1900, the Labour Representation Committee was formed to campaign for the election of working class representatives to parliament."
- Thorpe 2008, p. 8.
- O'Shea, Stephen; Buckley, James (8 December 2015). "Corbyn's Labour party set for swanky HQ move". CoStar. Archived from the original on 9 October 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
- Press Association (29 January 2020). "Labour's membership surges after election defeat, which report blames on Brexit". Evening Express. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
- Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "United Kingdom". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
- Adams, Ian (1998). Ideology and Politics in Britain Today (illustrated, reprint ed.). Manchester University Press. pp. 144–145. ISBN 978-0-7190-5056-5. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2015 – via Google Books.
- "Local Council Political Compositions". Open Council Data UK. 8 July 2020. Archived from the original on 30 September 2017. Retrieved 8 July 2020.