Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom, described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights; the Labour Party was founded in 1900, having grown out of the trade union movement and socialist parties of the nineteenth century. It overtook the Liberal Party to become the main opposition to the Conservative Party in the early 1920s, forming two minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in the 1920s and early 1930s. Labour served in the wartime coalition of 1940-1945, after which Clement Attlee's Labour government established the National Health Service and expanded the welfare state from 1945 to 1951. Under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, Labour again governed from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1979. In the 1990s Tony Blair took Labour closer to the centre as part of his "New Labour" project, which governed the UK under Blair and Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2010.
After Corbyn took over in 2015, the party has moved leftward. Labour is the Official Opposition in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, having won the second-largest number of seats in the 2017 general election; the Labour Party is the largest party in the Welsh Assembly, forming the main party in the current Welsh government. The party is the third largest in the Scottish Parliament. Labour is a member of the Party of European Socialists and Progressive Alliance, holds observer status in the Socialist International, sits with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament; the party includes semi-autonomous Scottish and Welsh branches and supports the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland. As of 2017, Labour had the largest membership of any party in Western Europe; the Labour Party originated in the late 19th century, meeting the demand for a new political party to represent the interests and needs of the urban working class, a demographic which had increased in number, many of whom only gained suffrage with the passage of the Representation of the People Act 1884.
Some members of the trades union movement became interested in moving into the political field, after further extensions of the voting franchise in 1867 and 1885, the Liberal Party endorsed some trade-union sponsored candidates. The first Lib–Lab candidate to stand was George Odger in the Southwark by-election of 1870. 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 middle-class Fabian Society, the Marxist Social Democratic Federation and the Scottish Labour Party. At 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. Hardie's roots as a lay preacher contributed to an ethos in the party which led to the comment by 1950s General Secretary Morgan Phillips that "Socialism in Britain owed more to Methodism than Marx".
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 left-wing organisations and form them into a single body that would sponsor Parliamentary candidates; the motion was passed at all stages by the TUC, the proposed conference was held at the Memorial Hall on Farringdon Street on 26 and 27 February 1900. The meeting was attended by a broad spectrum of working-class and left-wing organisations—trades unions represented 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, 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, meant to co-ordinate attempts to support MPs sponsored by trade unions and represent 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 campaign effectively. Only 15 candidatures were sponsored. 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 being ordered to pay £23,000 damages for a strike; the judgement 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 intensified support for the LRC against a government that appeared to have little concern for the industrial proletariat and its problems. In the 1906 election, the LRC won 29 seats—helped by a secret 1903 pact between Ramsay MacDonald and Liberal Chief Whip Herbert Gladstone that aimed to avoid splitting the opposition vote between Labour and Liberal candidates in the interest of removing the Conservatives from office.
In their first meeting after the election the group's Members of Parliament decided to adop
Joseph Devlin was an Irish journalist and influential nationalist politician. He was a Member of Parliament for the Irish Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, a Nationalist Party MP in the Parliament of Northern Ireland. Born at 10 Hamill Street, in the Lower Falls area of Belfast, he was the fifth child of Charles Devlin who ran a hackney cab, his wife Eliza King who sold groceries from their home, were both Roman Catholics; until he was twelve he attended the nearby St. Mary's Christian Brothers' School in Divis Street, where he was educated in a more'national' view of Irish history and culture than offered by the diocesan schools or the state system. While working as a clerk and in a pub, he showed an early gift for public speaking when he became chairman of a debating society founded in 1886 to commemorate the first Irish nationalist election victory in West Belfast. From 1891–1893 he was a journalist on the Irish News on the Freeman's Journal when he became associated with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which he helped to establish in the 1890s.
He became a lifelong opponent of the Orange Order. He worked at Samuel Young MP's brewery company, for whom he managed a Belfast pub until 1902. During the 1890s he was active as organiser in the anti-Parnellite Irish National Federation in eastern Ulster; when William O'Brien founded the United Irish League in County Mayo in 1898, Devlin founded the UIL section in Belfast which became his political machine in Ulster. He was elected unopposed as Irish Parliamentary Party Member of Parliament for Kilkenny North in the February 1902 by-election, his first political assignment came that year when the Party sent him to Irish Americas on the first of several successful fund-raising missions. It was there that he encountered the power of the Hibernian Orders and on his return set about claiming it for constitutional nationalism, when in 1904 he became lifelong Grandmaster of the AOH in Ireland. Members of his Order composed of earlier members of the Molly Maguires, a militant secret society known as the Mollies became members of the Irish Party infiltrating it.
Secretary of the London-based United Irish League of Great Britain Devlin became General Secretary of O’Brien's UIL, replacing John O'Donnell, through the initiative of deputy IPP leader John Dillon MP, with whom he held a close alliance and who had fallen under his influence. This "coup" gave them nationwide control of the 1200 UIL branches, the organisational base of the IPP, depriving O'Brien of all authority. Devlin had risen in the ranks of the League from being a local Nationalist organiser in Belfast to becoming the only newcomer to the parliamentary party, accepted politically, as an equal by the established leaders, he was devoted to Dillon who had helped him to his rise to prominence, Dillon in turn relied on him, not alone for both his control of the UIL and the AOH, but because he was an outstanding representative of Ulster Nationalism. He became a distinguished parliamentarian and had reached the top by the skilful use of two remarkable talents, his persuasive and powerful oratory, secondly, that he was a great organisation man, not as General Secretary of the United Irish League, but because he dominated the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
He was the only member of the younger generation to belong to the innermost circle of the IPP leadership and was seen as eventual heir-apparent. For some years Devlin had been in bitter conflict with the bishops' Catholic Association who wanted politics based on Catholic rights rather than on nationalism. Now in control of the three nationalist political organisations all sides succumbed to Devlin's influence; the AOH continued the O'Connellite link between Catholicism and nationalism but under a lay controlled organisations. To the Irish party's opponents the AOH was synonymous with Catholic sectarianism and patronage. Devlin represented the main urban and national business interests, which contrasted with his advocacy of social reforms when he took up labour issues working conditions in the linen mills and textile trades. In the 1906 British general election, Devlin was re-elected to Kilkenny North, to Belfast West which he regained from the Unionists by 16 votes. Choosing to retain the Belfast seat, he served as its MP beyond 1918, when his popularity in Belfast and east Ulster survived the downfall of the IPP.
Devlin became governor of the nationalist hinterland after his AOH political machinery saturated the country, acting through the UIL as the militant support organisation of the Irish Party. Devlin could assure John Redmond leader of the IPP, that at Redmond's bid, his organisation could provide full attendance of suitable "supporters" at any meeting, demonstration or convention throughout Ireland, something Redmond and his party availed of; the AOH was vehemently opposed by one nationalist organisation, the Munster based All-for-Ireland League, an independent party founded by William O'Brien who held Devlin's AOH as being at the root of widespread religious intimidation and sectarianism. He and his followers were attacked at a UIL Convention in Dublin in February 1909 by 400 militant "Mollies" organised by Devlin to silence him and his followers at what became known as the "Baton Convention". With the involvement of Ireland on the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Devlin sided with Redmond's decision in supporting recruiting for Britain's and the Allied war effort and voluntary enlistment of National Volunteers in Irish regiments of the New Service Army.
Redmond's plan was that, po
H. H. Asquith
Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith known as H. H. Asquith, was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916, he was the last prime minister to lead a majority Liberal government, he played a central role in the design and passage of major liberal legislation and a reduction of the power of the House of Lords. In August 1914, Asquith took the British Empire into the First World War. In 1915, his government was vigorously attacked for a shortage of munitions and the failure of the Gallipoli Campaign, he failed to satisfy critics. As a result, he was forced to resign in December 1916, he never regained power. After attending Balliol College, Oxford, he became a successful barrister. In 1886, he was the Liberal candidate for a seat he held for over thirty years. In 1892, he was appointed as Home Secretary in Gladstone's fourth ministry, remaining in the post until the Liberals lost the 1895 election. In the decade of opposition that followed, Asquith became a major figure in the party, when the Liberals regained power under Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman in 1905, Asquith was named Chancellor of the Exchequer.
In 1908, Asquith succeeded him as Prime Minister. The Liberals were determined to advance their reform agenda. An impediment to this was the House of Lords, which rejected the People's Budget of 1909. Meanwhile the South Africa Act 1909 passed. Asquith called an election for January 1910, the Liberals won, though were reduced to a minority government. After another general election in December 1910 he gained passage of the Parliament Act 1911, allowing a bill three times passed by the Commons in consecutive sessions to be enacted regardless of the Lords. Asquith was less successful in dealing with Irish Home Rule. Repeated crises led to gun violence, verging on civil war; when Britain declared war on Germany in response to the German invasion of Belgium, high profile conflicts were suspended regarding Ireland and women's suffrage. Although more of a committee chair than a dynamic leader, he oversaw national mobilisation; the war became bogged down and the demand rose for better leadership. He was forced to form a coalition with the Conservatives and Labour early in 1915.
He was weakened by his own indecision over strategy and financing. Lloyd George replaced him as Prime Minister in December 1916, they fought for control of the fast-declining Liberal Party. His role in creating the modern British welfare state has been celebrated, but his weaknesses as a war leader and as a party leader after 1914 have been highlighted by historians. Asquith was born in Morley, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the younger son of Joseph Dixon Asquith and his wife Emily, née Willans; the couple had three daughters, of whom only one survived infancy. The Asquiths were an old Yorkshire family, with a long nonconformist tradition, it was a matter of family pride, shared by Asquith, that an ancestor, Joseph Asquith, was imprisoned for his part in the pro-Roundhead Farnley Wood Plot of 1664. Both Asquith's parents came from families associated with the Yorkshire wool trade. Dixon Asquith inherited the Gillroyd Mill Company, founded by his father. Emily's father, William Willans, ran a successful wool-trading business in Huddersfield.
Both families were middle-class, Congregationalist, politically radical. Dixon was a mild man, cultivated and in his son's words "not cut out" for a business career, he was described as "a man of high character who held Bible classes for young men". Emily suffered persistent poor health, but was of strong character, a formative influence on her sons. In his younger days he was called Herbert within the family, his biographer Stephen Koss entitled the first chapter of his biography "From Herbert to Henry", referring to upward social mobility and his abandonment of his Yorkshire Nonconformist roots with his second marriage. However, in public, he was invariably referred to only as H. H. Asquith. "There have been few major national figures whose Christian names were less well known to the public" according to biographer Roy Jenkins. He and his brother were educated at home by their parents until 1860, when Dixon Asquith died suddenly. Willans took charge of the family, moved them to a house near his own, arranged for the boys' schooling.
After a year at Huddersfield College they were sent as boarders to a Moravian Church school at Fulneck, near Leeds. In 1863 Willans died, the family came under the care of Emily's brother, John; the boys went to live with him in London. The biographer Naomi Levine writes that in effect Asquith was "treated like an orphan" for the rest of his childhood; the departure of his uncle severed Asquith's ties with his native Yorkshire, he described himself thereafter as "to all intents and purposes a Londoner". Another biographer, H. C. G. Matthew, writes that Asquith's northern nonconformist background continued to influence him: "It gave him a point of sturdy anti-establishmentarian reference, important to a man whose life in other respects was a long absorption into metropolitanism."The boys were sent to the City of London School as dayboys. Under the school's headmaster, the Rev E. A. Abbott, a distinguished classical scholar, A
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, together with their Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and to the electorate; the office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016; the office is not established by any statute or constitutional document but exists only by long-established convention, which stipulates that the monarch must appoint as Prime Minister the person most to command the confidence of the House of Commons. The position of Prime Minister was not created; the office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective. The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament.
Although the Sovereign was not stripped of the ancient prerogative powers and remained the head of government, politically it became necessary for him or her to govern through a Prime Minister who could command a majority in Parliament. By the 1830s the Westminster system of government had emerged; the political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication, photography. By the start of the 20th century the modern premiership had emerged. Prior to 1902, the Prime Minister sometimes came from the House of Lords, provided that his government could form a majority in the Commons; however as the power of the aristocracy waned during the 19th century the convention developed that the Prime Minister should always sit in the lower house. As leader of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister's authority was further enhanced by the Parliament Act 1911 which marginalised the influence of the House of Lords in the law-making process.
The Prime Minister is ex officio First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Certain privileges, such as residency of 10 Downing Street, are accorded to Prime Ministers by virtue of their position as First Lord of the Treasury; the status of the position as Prime Minister means that the incumbent is ranked as one of the most powerful and influential people in the world. The Prime Minister is the head of the United Kingdom government; as such, the modern Prime Minister leads the Cabinet. In addition, the Prime Minister leads a major political party and commands a majority in the House of Commons; the incumbent wields both significant legislative and executive powers. Under the British system, there is a unity of powers rather than separation. In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister guides the law-making process with the goal of enacting the legislative agenda of their political party. In an executive capacity, the Prime Minister appoints all other Cabinet members and ministers, co-ordinates the policies and activities of all government departments, the staff of the Civil Service.
The Prime Minister acts as the public "face" and "voice" of Her Majesty's Government, both at home and abroad. Upon the advice of the Prime Minister, the Sovereign exercises many statutory and prerogative powers, including high judicial, political and Church of England ecclesiastical appointments; the British system of government is based on an uncodified constitution, meaning that it is not set out in any single document. The British constitution consists of many documents and most for the evolution of the Office of the Prime Minister, it is based on customs known as constitutional conventions that became accepted practice. In 1928, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith described this characteristic of the British constitution in his memoirs:In this country we live... under an unwritten Constitution. It is true that we have on the Statute-book great instruments like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights which define and secure many of our rights and privileges, they rest on usage, convention of slow growth in their early stages, not always uniform, but which in the course of time received universal observance and respect.
The relationships between the Prime Minister and the Sovereign and Cabinet are defined by these unwritten conventions of the constitution. Many of the Prime Minister's executive and legislative powers are royal prerogatives which are still formally vested in the Sovereign, who remains the head of state. Despite its growing
House of Commons of the United Kingdom
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House; the Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament. Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved; the House of Commons of England started to evolve in 14th centuries. It became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century; the "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Accordingly, the House of Commons assumed its current title. Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power; the Government is responsible to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as she or he retains the confidence of a majority of the Commons. Although it does not formally elect the prime minister, the position of the parties in the House of Commons is of overriding importance. By convention, the prime minister is answerable to, must maintain the support of, the House of Commons. Thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the Sovereign appoints the person who has the support of the House, or, most to command the support of the House—normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons, while the leader of the second-largest party becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Since 1963, by convention, the prime minister is always a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords.
The Commons may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a motion of confidence or by passing a motion of no confidence. Confidence and no confidence motions are phrased explicitly, for instance: "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government." Many other motions were until recent decades considered confidence issues though not explicitly phrased as such: in particular, important bills that were part of the Government's agenda. The annual Budget is still considered a matter of confidence; when a Government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged either to resign, making way for another MP who can command confidence, or to request the monarch to dissolve Parliament, thereby precipitating a general election. Parliament sits for a maximum term of five years. Subject to that limit, the prime minister could choose the timing of the dissolution of parliament, with the permission of the Monarch. However, since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, terms are now a fixed five years, an early general election is brought about by a two-thirds majority in favour of a motion for a dissolution, or by a vote of no confidence, not followed within fourteen days by a vote of confidence.
By this second mechanism, the UK's government can change its political composition without an intervening general election. Only four of the eight last Prime Ministers have attained office as the immediate result of a general election; the latter four were Jim Callaghan, John Major, Gordon Brown and the current Prime Minister Theresa May. In such circumstances there may not have been an internal party leadership election, as the new leader may be chosen by acclaim, having no electoral rival. A prime minister will resign after party defeat at an election if unable to lead a coalition, or obtain a confidence and supply arrangement, she or he may resign after a motion of no confidence or for health reasons. In such cases, the premiership goes to, it has become the practice to write the constitution of major UK political parties to provide a set way in which to appoint a new leader. Until 1965, the Conservative Party had no fixed mechanism for this, it fell to the Queen to appoint Harold Macmillan as the new prime minister, after taking the consensus of cabinet ministers.
By convention, ministers are members of the House of House of Lords. A handful have been appointed who were outside Parliament, but in most cases they entered Parliament in a by-election or by receiving a peerage. Exceptions include Peter Mandelson, appointed Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform in October 2008 before his peerage. Since 1902, all prime ministers have been members of the Commons; the new session of Parliament was delayed to await the outcome of his by-election, which happened
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a British politician, army officer, writer. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led Britain to victory in the Second World War, again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as a Member of Parliament. Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist, for most of his career he was a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but from 1904 to 1924 was instead a member of the Liberal Party. Of mixed English and American parentage, Churchill was born in Oxfordshire to a wealthy, aristocratic family. Joining the British Army, he saw action in British India, the Anglo–Sudan War, the Second Boer War, gaining fame as a war correspondent and writing books about his campaigns. Elected an MP in 1900 as a Conservative, he defected to the Liberals in 1904. In H. H. Asquith's Liberal government, Churchill served as President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary, First Lord of the Admiralty, championing prison reform and workers' social security.
During the First World War, he oversaw the Gallipoli Campaign. In 1917, he returned to government under David Lloyd George as Minister of Munitions, was subsequently Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for Air Secretary of State for the Colonies. After two years out of Parliament, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Stanley Baldwin's Conservative government, returning the pound sterling in 1925 to the gold standard at its pre-war parity, a move seen as creating deflationary pressure on the UK economy. Out of office during the 1930s, Churchill took the lead in calling for British rearmament to counter the growing threat from Nazi Germany. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was re-appointed First Lord of the Admiralty before replacing Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1940. Churchill oversaw British involvement in the Allied war effort against Germany and the Axis powers, resulting in victory in 1945, his wartime leadership was praised, although acts like the Bombing of Dresden and his wartime response to the Bengal famine generated controversy.
After the Conservatives' defeat in the 1945 general election, he became Leader of the Opposition. Amid the developing Cold War with the Soviet Union, he publicly warned of an "iron curtain" of Soviet influence in Europe and promoted European unity. Re-elected Prime Minister in 1951, his second term was preoccupied with foreign affairs, including the Malayan Emergency, Mau Mau Uprising, Korean War, a UK-backed Iranian coup. Domestically his government developed a nuclear weapon. In declining health, Churchill resigned as prime minister in 1955, although he remained an MP until 1964. Upon his death in 1965, he was given a state funeral. Considered one of the 20th century's most significant figures, Churchill remains popular in the UK and Western world, where he is seen as a victorious wartime leader who played an important role in defending liberal democracy from the spread of fascism. Praised as a social reformer and writer, among his many awards was the Nobel Prize in Literature. Conversely, his imperialist views and comments on race, as well as his sanctioning of human rights abuses in the suppression of anti-imperialist movements seeking independence from the British Empire, have generated considerable controversy.
Churchill was born at the family's ancestral home, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, on 30 November 1874, at which time the United Kingdom was the dominant world power. A direct descendant of the Dukes of Marlborough, his family were among the highest levels of the British aristocracy, thus he was born into the country's governing elite, his paternal grandfather, John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, had been a Member of Parliament for ten years, a member of the Conservative Party who served in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. His own father, Lord Randolph Churchill, had been elected Conservative MP for Woodstock in 1873, his mother, Jennie Churchill, was from an American family whose substantial wealth derived from finance. The couple had met in August 1873, were engaged three days marrying at the British Embassy in Paris in April 1874; the couple lived beyond their income and were in debt. In 1876 John Spencer-Churchill was appointed Viceroy of Ireland, with Randolph as his private secretary, resulting in the Churchill family's relocation to Dublin, when the entirety of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom.
It was here that Jennie's second son, was born in 1880. Throughout much of the 1880s Randolph and Jennie were estranged, during which she had many suitors. Churchill had no relationship with his father, his relationship with Jack would be warm, they were close at various points in their lives. In Dublin, he was educated in reading and mathematics by a governess, while he and his brother were cared for by their nanny, Elizabeth Everest. Churchill was devoted to her and nicknamed her "Woomany". Visits home were to Connaught Place in L
1923 United Kingdom general election
The 1923 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 6 December 1923. The Conservatives, led by Stanley Baldwin, won the most seats, but Labour, led by Ramsay MacDonald, H. H. Asquith's reunited Liberal Party gained enough seats to produce a hung parliament, it was the last UK general election in which a third party won more than 100 seats, or received more than 26% of the vote. MacDonald formed the first Labour government with tacit support from the Liberals. Asquith's motivation for permitting Labour to enter power, rather than trying to bring the Liberals back into government, was that he hoped they would prove to be incompetent and lose support. Being a minority, MacDonald's government only lasted ten months and another general election was held in October 1924. In May 1923, Prime Minister Bonar Law fell ill and resigned on 22 May, after just 209 days in office, he was replaced by Chancellor of Stanley Baldwin. The Labour Party had changed leaders since the previous election, after J. R. Clynes was defeated in a leadership challenge by former leader Ramsay MacDonald.
Having won an election just the year before, Baldwin's Conservative Party had a comfortable majority in the House of Commons and could have waited another four years, but the government was concerned. Baldwin felt the need to receive a mandate from the people, which, if successful, would strengthen his grip on the Conservative Party leadership. Oxford historian J. A. R. Marriott depicts the gloomy national mood: The times were still out of joint. Mr. Baldwin had indeed succeeded in negotiating a settlement of the British debt to the United States, but on terms which involved an annual payment of £34 million, at the existing rate of exchange; the French remained in the Ruhr. Peace had not yet been made with Turkey. Confronted by these difficulties, convinced that economic conditions in England called for a drastic change in fiscal policy, urged thereto by the Imperial Conference of 1923, Mr. Baldwin decided to ask the country for a mandate for Preference and Protection; the result however backfired on Baldwin, who lost a host of seats to Labour and the Liberals, resulting in a hung parliament.
Baldwin attempted to continue in power, hoping that the Liberals would support his government, but they combined with Labour to vote down the King's Speech prepared by Baldwin, causing his government to fall. For the first time in history, Labour formed a government. All comparisons are with the 1922 election. In some cases the change is due to the MP defecting to the gaining party; such circumstances are marked with a *. In other circumstances the change is due to the seat having been won by the gaining party in a by-election in the intervening years, retained in 1923; such circumstances are marked with a †. MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1923 Cook, Chris P. "Wales and the General Election of 1923", Welsh History Review, 4: 393 -- 4 F. W. S. ed. British General Election Manifestos, 1900-74 Irwin, Douglas A. Industry or Class Cleavages over Trade Policy? Evidence from the British General Election of 1923, National Bureau of Economic Research Self, Robert, "Conservative reunion and the general election of 1923: a reassessment", Twentieth Century British History, 3: 249–273 Smart, Nick, "Baldwin's Blunder?
The General Election of 1923", Twentieth Century British History, 7: 110–139 United Kingdom election results—summary results 1885–1979 1923 Conservative manifesto 1923 Labour manifesto 1923 Liberal manifesto