Plaid Cymru is a social-democratic political party in Wales advocating Welsh independence from the United Kingdom within the European Union. Plaid was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in the UK Parliament in 1966. By 2018, it held one of four Welsh seats in the European Parliament, four of 40 Welsh seats in the UK Parliament, 10 of 60 seats in the National Assembly for Wales, 202 of 1,264 principal local authority councillors. Plaid is a member of the European Free Alliance. Plaid Cymru's goals as set out in its constitution are: To promote the constitutional advancement of Wales with a view to attaining independence within the European Union. In September 2008, a senior Plaid assembly member spelled out her party's continuing support for an independent Wales; the Welsh Minister for Rural Affairs, Elin Jones, began Plaid's annual conference by pledging to uphold the goal of making Wales a European Union member state. She told the delegates in Aberystwyth that the party would continue its commitment to independence under the coalition with the Welsh Labour Party.
While both the Labour and Liberal parties of the early 20th century had accommodated demands for Welsh home rule, no political party existed for the purpose of establishing a Welsh government. Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru was formed on 5 August 1925, by Moses Gruffydd, H. R. Jones and Lewis Valentine, members of Byddin Ymreolwyr Cymru. Home rule for Wales was not an explicit aim of the new movement. In the 1929 general election the party contested its first parliamentary constituency, polling 609 votes, or 1.6% of the vote for that seat. The party contested few such elections in its early years due to its ambivalence towards Westminster politics. Indeed, the candidate Lewis Valentine, the party’s first president, offered himself in Caernarvonshire on a platform of demonstrating Welsh people's rejection of English dominion. By 1932, the aims of self-government and Welsh representation at the League of Nations had been added to that of preserving Welsh language and culture. However, this move, the party's early attempts to develop an economic critique, did not broaden its appeal beyond that of an intellectual and conservative Welsh language pressure group.
The alleged sympathy of the party's leading members towards Europe's totalitarian regimes compromised its early appeal further. Saunders Lewis, David John Williams and Lewis Valentine attacked and set fire to the newly constructed RAF Penyberth air base on the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd in 1936, in protest at its siting in the Welsh-speaking heartland; the leaders' treatment, including the trial judge's dismissal of the use of Welsh and their subsequent imprisonment in Wormwood Scrubs, led to "The Three" becoming a cause célèbre. This heightened the profile of the party and its membership had doubled to nearly 2,000 by 1939. Penyberth, Plaid Cymru’s neutral stance during the Second World War, prompted concerns within the UK Government that it might be used by Germany to insert spies or carry out other covert operations. In fact, the party urged conscientious objection to war service. In 1943 Saunders Lewis contested the University of Wales parliamentary seat at a by-election, gaining 1,330 votes, or 22%.
In the 1945 general election, with party membership at around 2,500, Plaid Cymru contested seven seats, as many as it had in the preceding 20 years, including constituencies in south Wales for the first time. At this time Gwynfor Evans was elected president. Gwynfor Evans's presidency coincided with the maturation of Plaid Cymru into a more recognisable political party, its share of the vote increased from 0.7% in the 1951 general election to 3.1% in 1955 and 5.2% in 1959. In the 1959 election, the party contested a majority of Welsh seats for the first time. Proposals to drown the village of Capel Celyn in the Tryweryn valley in Gwynedd in 1957 to supply the city of Liverpool with water played a part in Plaid Cymru's growth; the fact that the parliamentary bill authorising the drowning went through without support from any Welsh MPs showed that the MPs' votes in Westminster were not enough to prevent such bills from passing. Support for the party declined in the early 1960s as support for the Liberal Party began to stabilise from its long-term decline.
In 1962 Saunders Lewis gave a radio talk entitled Tynged yr Iaith in which he predicted the extinction of the Welsh language unless action was taken. This led to the formation of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg the same year. Labour's return to power in 1964 and the creation of the post of Secretary of State for Wales appeared to represent a continuation of the incremental evolution of a
1922 Labour Party (UK) leadership election
The 1922 Labour Party leadership election was the first leadership election for the posts of Chairman and Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party. The position had been the "Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party"; the election took place when incumbent Chairman John Clynes was challenged by former leader Ramsay MacDonald. MacDonald opposed. John Clynes, incumbent Leader of the Labour Party, Member of Parliament for Manchester Platting Ramsay MacDonald, former Leader of the Labour Party, Member of Parliament for Aberavon The result of the only ballot of Labour MPs on 14 December was as follows: After the election Clynes was given the newly created office of Deputy Leader of the Labour Party; as Labour leader, MacDonald became prime minister in 1924 and from 1929 to 1931, at which point he became head of a National Government, opposed by the bulk of the Labour Party, he was succeeded as party leader by Arthur Henderson. MacDonald was subsequently expelled from the party. In 1932, George Lansbury became leader unopposed, as one of the few experienced Labour MPs left in Parliament, but trades union opposition to his pacifism led to his resignation in 1935 and replacement by his deputy Clement Attlee.
A month Attlee was challenged in a new election. Marquand, Ramsay MacDonald, London: Jonathan Cape, pp. 285–287
Edwin Scrymgeour, was a Member of Parliament for Dundee, Scotland. He is the only person elected to the House of Commons on a prohibitionist ticket, as the candidate of the Scottish Prohibition Party. A native of Dundee, he was educated at West End Academy, he was a pioneer of the Scottish temperance movement and established his party in 1901 to further this aim. He served on Dundee City Council and began contesting elections in the 1908 Dundee by election which saw Winston Churchill first elected for Dundee and continued to fight at every election thereafter, increasing his vote. In part this was because of his popularity, general left-wing sympathies and history with the labour movement. Churchill's stance against suffragettes may have had an impact in a city where many women were breadwinners, while many men were "kettle-boilers". In the 1922 election and Labour candidate E. D. Morel jointly ousted Winston Churchill, who had represented the city as a Liberal. Scrymgeour remained an M. P. for Dundee until the 1931 general election, when he was ousted by Florence Horsbrugh.
Out of Parliament Scrymgeour worked as an evangelical Chaplain at East House and Maryfield Hospital in Dundee. Scrymgeour was a leader of the unsuccessful opposition to disbanding the Scottish Prohibition Party in 1935. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Edwin Scrymgeour Three Dundonians: James Carmichael, Charles W Boase and Edwin Scrymgeour by SGE Lythe, JT Ward and DG Southgate
1931 United Kingdom general election
The 1931 United Kingdom general election was held on Tuesday 27 October 1931 and saw a landslide election victory for the National Government, formed two months after the collapse of the second Labour government. Collectively, the parties forming the National Government won 67% of the votes and 554 seats out of 615; the bulk of the National Government's support came from the Conservative Party, the Conservatives won 470 seats. The Labour Party suffered its greatest defeat, losing four out of five seats compared with the previous election; the Liberal Party, split into three factions, continued to shrink and the Liberal National faction never reunited. Ivor Bulmer-Thomas said the results "were the most astonishing in the history of the British party system", it was the last election where one party received an absolute majority of the votes cast and the last UK general election not to take place on a Thursday, would be the last election until 1997 in which a party won over 400 seats in the House of Commons.
After battling with the Great Depression for two years, Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government had been faced with a sudden budget crisis in August 1931. The cabinet deadlocked over its response, with several influential members such as Arthur Henderson unwilling to support the budget cuts which were pressed by the civil service and opposition parties. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Snowden, refused to consider deficit spending or tariffs as alternative solutions; when the government resigned, MacDonald was encouraged by King George V to form an all-party National Government to deal with the immediate crisis. The initial hope that the government would hold office for a few weeks, dissolve to return to ordinary party politics, were frustrated when the government was forced to remove the pound sterling from the gold standard; the Conservatives began pressing for the National Government to fight an election as a combined unit, MacDonald's supporters from the Labour Party formed a National Labour Organisation to support him.
However the Liberals had to be persuaded. Former Liberal leader David Lloyd George opposed the decision to call an election and urged his colleagues to withdraw from the National Government. A main issue was the Conservatives' wish to introduce protectionist trade policies; this issue not only divided the government from the opposition but divided the parties in the National Government: the majority of Liberals, led by Sir Herbert Samuel, were opposed and supported free trade, but on the eve of the election a faction known as Liberal Nationals under the leadership of Sir John Simon was formed who were willing to support protectionist trade policies. In order to preserve the Liberals within the National Government, the government itself did not endorse a policy but appealed for a "Doctor's Mandate" to do whatever was necessary to rescue the economy. Individual Conservative candidates supported protective tariffs. Labour campaigned on opposition to public spending cuts, but found it difficult to defend the record of the party's former government and the fact that most of the cuts had been agreed before it fell.
Historian Andrew Thorpe argues that Labour lost credibility by 1931 as unemployment soared in coal, textiles and steel. The working class lost confidence in the ability of Labour to solve the most pressing problem; the 2.5 million Irish Catholics in England and Scotland were a major factor in the Labour base in many industrial areas. The Catholic Church had tolerated the Labour Party, denied that it represented true socialism. However, the bishops by 1930 had grown alarmed at Labour's policies towards Communist Russia, towards birth control and towards funding Catholic schools, they warned its members. The Catholic shift against Labour and in favour of the National Government played a major role in Labour's losses. In the event, the Labour vote fell and the National Government won a landslide majority. Although the overwhelming majority of the Government MPs were Conservatives under the leadership of Stanley Baldwin, MacDonald remained Prime Minister in the new National Government; the Liberals lacked the funds to contest the full range of seats, but still won as many constituencies as the Labour Party.
There were more MPs who were elected under a Liberal ticket of some description there were the combined number of Labour and National Labour MPs, but the three-way split in the party meant that the main Labour group still ended up as the second-largest in Parliament. Note: Seat changes are compared with the 1929 election result; this differs from the above list in including seats where the incumbent was standing down and therefore there was no possibility of any one person being defeated. The aim is to provide a comparison with the previous election. In addition, it provides information. All comparisons are with the 1929 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 1931; such circumstances are marked with a †. These are available at the PoliticsResources website, a link to, given below.
MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1931 Ball, Stuart and the Conservative Party: The Crisis of 1929–31, Yale University Press Bas
1924 United Kingdom general election
The 1924 United Kingdom general election was held on Wednesday 29 October 1924, as a result of the defeat of the Labour minority government, led by Ramsay MacDonald, in the House of Commons on a motion of no confidence. It was the third general election to be held in less than two years; the Conservatives, led by Stanley Baldwin, performed better, in electoral terms, than in the 1923 general election and obtained a large parliamentary majority of 209. Labour, led by Ramsay MacDonald, lost 40 seats; the election saw the Liberal Party, led by H. H. Asquith, lose 118 of their 158 seats which helped to polarise British politics between the Labour Party and Conservative Party; the Conservative landslide victory and the Labour defeat in this general election has been, in part, attributed to the Zinoviev letter, a forgery, published in the Daily Mail four days before the election. However, it is difficult to prove; the Labour vote increased by around one million popular votes in comparison to the 1923 general election, the increase in the number of popular votes for the Labour Party may be due, in part, to the party putting up eighty-seven more candidates than it did in the previous year's general election.
After the previous general election, the Labour Party had finished as the second-largest party, but formed their first-ever government with the support of the Liberal Party, after the ruling Conservative Party's shock loss of their majority made it untenable for Baldwin to continue as Prime Minister. However, relations between Labour and the Liberals proved stormy resulting in Asquith calling a motion of no confidence in MacDonald's government, carried by a large majority. Asquith had gambled that neither Baldwin nor MacDonald would want to put the country through a third general election in two years, that one of them would be forced to enter into a formal coalition with the Liberals. However, the gambit backfired when MacDonald instead called an election, knowing full well that a Conservative landslide was the only outcome, but himself gambling that it would be at the expense of the Liberals. MacDonald's judgement proved correct, as the Liberals, who were still dependant on former Prime Minister David Lloyd George for funds, ended up financially crippled from the start of the campaign, while Labour were able to expand the scope of their own campaign thanks to increasing support from the workers' unions.
It is speculated that the combination of Labour forming its first government in January 1924 and the Zinoviev letter helped to stir up anti-socialist fears in Britain among many traditional anti-socialist Liberal voters, who switched their support to the Conservative Party. This helps to explain the poor performance of the Liberal Party in the general election; the party had financial difficulties which allowed it to contest only 339 seats, a lack of distinctive policies after the Conservative Party dropped their support for protected trade, poor leadership under Asquith, who lost his own seat for the second time in six years. It would be the final election for Asquith, subsequently forced to lead the party from the House of Lords after being elevated to the Earldom of Oxford and Asquith the following year, before declining health saw him replaced by the returning David Lloyd George in 1926; the fourth party in terms of number of candidates, number of seats and number of votes were not a party but a group of former National Liberals standing under the Constitutionalist label, led by Winston Churchill.
They favoured Conservative/Liberal co-operation and had intended to formally organize as a party, but the election was called before they had the opportunity to do so. Three of the seven Constitutionalists elected, including Churchill, had been opposed by official Liberal candidates, sat as Conservatives after the election; the other four sat as Liberals. Sinn Féin ran Westminster candidates for the first time since 1918, running a total of eight candidates. Aside from a abortive attempt at a comeback in the 1950s, it would be 1983 before the party began fielding candidates at Westminster elections. All comparisons are with the 1923 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 1924; such circumstances are marked with a †. MPs elected in the UK general election, 1924 United Kingdom election results—summary results 1885–1979 1924 Conservative manifesto 1924 Labour manifesto 1924 Liberal manifesto
Second Baldwin ministry
Stanley Baldwin of the Conservative Party formed the second Baldwin ministry upon his reappointment as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by King George V after the 1924 general election. His second ministry ended following the so-called "Flapper Election" of May 1929. Stanley Baldwin – Prime Minister and Leader of the House of Commons Lord Cave – Lord Chancellor Lord Curzon of Kedleston – Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Lords Lord Salisbury – Lord Privy Seal Winston Churchill – Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir William Joynson-Hicks – Home Secretary Sir Austen Chamberlain – Foreign Secretary and Deputy Leader of the House of Commons Leo Amery – Colonial Secretary Sir Laming Worthington-Evans – Secretary of State for War Lord Birkenhead – Secretary of State for India Sir Samuel Hoare – Secretary for Air Sir John Gilmour – Secretary for Scotland William Clive Bridgeman – First Lord of the Admiralty Lord Cecil of Chelwood – Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister – President of the Board of Trade Edward Frederick Lindley Wood – Minister of Agriculture Lord Eustace Percy – President of the Board of Education Lord Peel – First Commissioner of Works Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland – Minister of Labour Neville Chamberlain – Minister of Health Sir Douglas Hogg – Attorney-General April 1925 – On Curzon's death, Lord Balfour succeeded him as Lord President.
Lord Salisbury became the new Leader of the House of Lords, remaining Lord Privy Seal. June 1925 – The post of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was created, held by Leo Amery in tandem with Secretary of State for the Colonies. November 1925 – Walter Guinness succeeded E. F. L. Wood as Minister of Agriculture. July 1926 – The post of Secretary of Scotland was upgraded to Secretary of State for Scotland. October 1927 – Lord Cushendun succeeded Lord Cecil of Chelwood as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster March 1928 – Lord Hailsham succeeded Lord Cave as Lord Chancellor. Hailsham's successor as Attorney-General was not in the Cabinet. October 1928 – Lord Peel succeeded Lord Birkenhead as Secretary of State for India. Lord Londonderry succeeded Peel as First Commissioner of Public Works Members of the Cabinet are in bold face. Notes D. Butler and G. Butler. Twentieth Century British Political Facts 1900–2000
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