The European Union is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located in Europe. It has an area of an estimated population of about 513 million; the EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency; the EU and European citizenship were established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. The EU traces its origins to the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community, established by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957 Treaty of Rome.
The original members of what came to be known as the European Communities were the Inner Six: Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, West Germany. The Communities and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit; the latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. While no member state has left the EU or its antecedent organisations, the United Kingdom signified the intention to leave after a membership referendum in June 2016 and is negotiating its withdrawal. Covering 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2017 generated a nominal gross domestic product of 19.670 trillion US dollars, constituting 24.6% of global nominal GDP. Additionally, all 28 EU countries have a high Human Development Index, according to the United Nations Development Programme. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence.
The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and the G20. Because of its global influence, the European Union has been described as an emerging superpower. During the centuries following the fall of Rome in 476, several European States viewed themselves as translatio imperii of the defunct Roman Empire: the Frankish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire were thereby attempts to resurrect Rome in the West; this political philosophy of a supra-national rule over the continent, similar to the example of the ancient Roman Empire, resulted in the early Middle Ages in the concept of a renovatio imperii, either in the forms of the Reichsidee or the religiously inspired Imperium Christianum. Medieval Christendom and the political power of the Papacy are cited as conducive to European integration and unity. In the oriental parts of the continent, the Russian Tsardom, the Empire, declared Moscow to be Third Rome and inheritor of the Eastern tradition after the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
The gap between Greek East and Latin West had been widened by the political scission of the Roman Empire in the 4th century and the Great Schism of 1054. Pan-European political thought emerged during the 19th century, inspired by the liberal ideas of the French and American Revolutions after the demise of Napoléon's Empire. In the decades following the outcomes of the Congress of Vienna, ideals of European unity flourished across the continent in the writings of Wojciech Jastrzębowski, Giuseppe Mazzini or Theodore de Korwin Szymanowski; the term United States of Europe was used at that time by Victor Hugo during a speech at the International Peace Congress held in Paris in 1849: A day will come when all nations on our continent will form a European brotherhood... A day will come when we shall see... the United States of America and the United States of Europe face to face, reaching out for each other across the seas. During the interwar period, the consciousness that national markets in Europe were interdependent though confrontational, along with the observation of a larger and growing US market on the other side of the ocean, nourished the urge for the economic integration of the continent.
In 1920, advocating the creation of a European economic union, British economist John Maynard Keynes wrote that "a Free Trade Union should be established... to impose no protectionist tariffs whatever against the produce of other members of the Union." During the same decade, Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, one of the first to imagine of a modern political union of Europe, founded the Pan-Europa Movement. His ideas influenced his contemporaries, among which Prime Minister of France Aristide Briand. In 1929, the latter gave a speech in favour of a European Union before the assembly of the League of Nations, precursor of the United Nations. In a radio address in March 1943, with war still raging, Britain's leader Sir Winston Churchill spoke warmly of "restoring the true greatness of Europe" once victory had been achieved, mused on the post-war creation of a "Council of Europe" which would bring the European nations together to build peace. After World War II, European integration was seen as an antidote to the extreme nationalism which had devastated the continent.
In a speech delivered on 19
1989 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom
The European Parliament Election, 1989, was the third European election to be held in the United Kingdom. It was held on 15 June; the electoral system was First Past the Post in England and Wales and Single Transferable Vote in Northern Ireland. The turnout was again the lowest in Europe; this election saw the best performance by the Green Party, collecting over 2 million votes and 15% of the vote share. It had only received 70,853 as the Ecology Party in the previous election. However, because of First Past the Post system, the Green Party did not gain a single MEP, while the Scottish National Party received 1 seat with only 3% of the vote share; the Green Party's vote total of 2,299,287 remains its best performance in a national election, as does its percentage result of 14.5%. To date, it is the most recent election; the election saw Labour overtake the Conservatives for the first time in any election since October 1974 and the first time in a European election, winning 13 more seats. Overall turnout: 36% Overall votes cast: 15,896,078 Total votes cast: 15,361,267 Total votes cast – 534,811.
Labour – Neil Kinnock Conservative – Margaret Thatcher Green – N/A Liberal Democrat – Paddy Ashdown SNP – Gordon Wilson Plaid Cymru – Dafydd Elis Thomas DUP – Ian Paisley SDLP – John Hume UUP – James Molyneaux Elections in the United Kingdom: European elections List of members of the European Parliament for the United Kingdom, 1989–94
2014 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom's component of the 2014 European Parliament election was held on Thursday 22 May 2014, coinciding with the 2014 local elections in England and Northern Ireland. In total, 73 Members of the European Parliament were elected from the United Kingdom using proportional representation. England and Wales use a closed-list party list system of PR, while Northern Ireland used the single transferable vote. Most of the election results were announced after 10pm on Sunday 25 May - with the exception of Scotland, which did not declare its results until the following day - after voting closed throughout the 28 member states of the European Union; the UK Independence Party came top of the poll, winning 24 seats and 27% of the popular vote, the first time a political party other than the Labour Party or Conservative Party had won the popular vote at a British election since the 1906 general election. It was the first time a party other than Labour or Conservative had won the largest number of seats in a national election since the December 1910 general election.
In addition, the 23.1% of the vote won by the Conservatives is the lowest recorded voteshare for the party in a national election. The Labour Party became the first Official Opposition party since 1984 to fail to win a European Parliament election, although it did gain 7 seats, taking its overall tally to 20; the governing Conservative Party was pushed into third place for the first time at any European Parliament election, falling to 19 seats, while the Green Party of England and Wales saw its number of MEPs increase for the first time since 1999, winning 3 seats. In Scotland, the Scottish National Party won the largest share of the vote, taking 29% of the vote and 2 MEPs; the Liberal Democrats, who were in coalition with the Conservatives at the time, lost 10 of the 11 seats they were defending, won just 7% of the popular vote. Figures released in December 2014 showed that the Conservatives and UKIP each spent £2.96m on the campaign, the Liberal Democrats £1.5m, the Labour Party £1m. The United Kingdom elected 73 Members of the European Parliament using proportional representation.
The United Kingdom was divided into twelve multi-member constituencies. The eleven of these regions which form Great Britain used a closed-list party list system method of proportional representation, calculated using the D'Hondt method. Northern Ireland used the Single Transferable Vote; as a result of the Treaty of Lisbon coming into force, the UK became entitled to a 73rd MEP as from November 2011. The Electoral Commission performed a reallocation in keeping with the same procedures they used to allocate 72 MEPs and an extra Conservative MEP was allocated to the West Midlands constituency based on the 2009 vote and was enshrined in the European Union Act 2011 as an amendment of the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002. 1 Includes Gibraltar, the only British overseas territory, part of the European Union. The European Parliamentary Elections Order 2013 provides for the designated Returning Officer for each electoral region to be the council official responsible for elections in each of the following Westminster constituencies: Kettering for the East Midlands, Chelmsford for the Eastern region, Deptford for the London region, Sunderland Central for the North East region, Manchester Central for the North West region, Falkirk for Scotland, Test for the South East region, Poole for the South West region, Preseli Pembrokeshire for Wales, Birmingham Ladywood for the West Midlands region, Leeds Central for the Yorkshire and Humber region, Belfast South for the Northern Ireland Region.
Between the 2009 and 2014 elections, there were various changes to the breakdown of UK members. In December 2011, a 73rd member from the UK was allocated to England because of the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon. There were various defections: one Conservative MEP defected to the Liberal Democrats; the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force electoral pact between the Conservatives and the Ulster Unionist Party was dissolved. Thus, before the 2014 election, the following parties had MEPs representing UK constituencies: 39 parties stood a total of 747 candidates; the Conservative Party and UKIP had candidates in every region. Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the BNP had a full slate of candidates in all the regions in Great Britain; the English Democrats and An Independence from Europe had a full slate of candidates in all the English regions. No2EU had a full slate in seven regions, while Britain First and the Socialist Party of Great Britain had full slates in two regions each.
The Harmony Party stood in the Christian Peoples Alliance in three regions. Other parties only stood in one region. United in Europe was a single-issue party founded to contest these elections in Scotland, advocating continued membership of the UK in the EU. Founded by Charles Cormack in Edinburgh in January 2014 and registered on 3 April 2014 as a response to UKIP and Euroscepticism, the party did not
Jeremy John Durham Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, known as Paddy Ashdown, was a British politician and diplomat who served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 to 1999. He gained international recognition for his role in Bosnia–Herzegovina as its High Representative from 2002 to 2006, following his vigorous lobbying for military action against Yugoslavia in the 1990s. After serving as a Royal Marine and Special Boat Service officer and as an intelligence officer in the UK security services, Ashdown was elected Member of Parliament for Yeovil in 1983 before retiring in 2001. Ashdown received national recognition for his services by appointment as Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 2006 New Year Honours and Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the 2015 New Year Honours. A polyglot, Ashdown had an interpretership qualification in Mandarin and was fluent in several other languages. Ashdown was the eldest of seven children: he had four brothers and two sisters.
He was born in New Delhi, British India, on 27 February 1941 to a family of soldiers and colonial administrators who spent their lives in India. His father was a lapsed Catholic, his mother a Protestant, his mother was a nurse in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. Ashdown's father, John William Richard Durham Ashdown, was a British Indian Army officer serving in the 14th Punjab Regiment and the Royal Indian Army Service Corps, in 1944 attained the rank of temporary lieutenant colonel. Ashdown was brought up in Northern Ireland, where his father bought a farm in 1945 near Comber, Donaghadee, he was educated first at a local primary school as a weekly boarder at Garth House Preparatory School in Bangor and from age 11 at Bedford School in England, where his accent earned him the nickname "Paddy". After his father's business collapsed, Ashdown passed the naval scholarship examination to pay for his school fees, but left before taking A-levels and joined the Royal Marines in 1959, he retired with the rank of captain.
He served in Borneo during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation and the Persian Gulf, before training as a Swimmer Canoeist in 1965, after which he joined the elite Special Boat Section and commanded a Section in the Far East. He went to Hong Kong in 1967 to undertake a full-time interpreter's course in Chinese, returned to the UK in 1970 when he was given command of a Royal Marine company in Belfast. Ashdown left the Royal Marines to join the Secret Intelligence Service; as diplomatic cover, he worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as first secretary to the United Kingdom mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. At the UN, Ashdown was responsible for relations with several UN organisations, involved in the negotiation of several international treaties, some aspects of the Helsinki Accords in 1975. While in the Marines, Ashdown had been a supporter of the Labour Party but switched support to the Liberal Party in 1975, he had a comfortable life in Switzerland, where he lived with his wife Jane and their two children Simon and Katherine in a large house on the shores of Lake Geneva, enjoying plenty of time for sailing and climbing.
Ashdown decided to enter politics after the UK had two general elections in one year and the Three-Day Week. He said that "most of my friends thought it was utterly bonkers" to leave the diplomatic service, but that he had "a sense of purpose". In 1976 Ashdown was selected as the Liberal Party's prospective parliamentary candidate in his wife's home constituency of Yeovil in Somerset, took a job with Normalair Garrett part of the Yeovil-based Westland Group. Yeovil's Liberal candidate had been placed second in the February 1974 and third in the October 1974 general elections, he subsequently worked for Tescan, was unemployed for a time after that firm's closure in 1981, before becoming a youth worker with Dorset County Council's Youth Service, working on initiatives to help the young unemployed. That position being an unpaid "volunteer" one, Ashdown himself being classified at the time as "long term unemployed", having applied unsuccessfully for 150 jobs. In the 1979 general election which returned the Conservatives to power, Ashdown regained second place, establishing a clear lead of 9% over the Labour candidate.
The Conservative majority of 11,382 was still large enough to be regarded as a safe seat when the sitting MP John Peyton stood down at the 1983 general election to be made a life peer. Ashdown had gained momentum after his years of local campaigning; the Labour vote fell to only 5.5% and Ashdown won the seat with a majority of over 3,000, a swing from the Conservatives of 11.9% against a national swing of 4% to the Conservatives. Ashdown had long been on his party's social democratic wing, supporting the 1977 Lib–Lab pact, the SDP–Liberal Alliance. In the early 1980s he was a prominent campaigner against the deployment in Europe of American nuclear-armed cruise missiles, describing them at a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament rally in Hyde Park in 1983 as "the front end of the whole anti-nuclear struggle, it is the weapon we HAVE to stop."Shortly after entering the House of Commons, he was appointed SDP–Liberal Alliance spokesman on Trade and Industry and on Education. He opposed the privatisation of the Royal Ordnance Factories in 1984, in 1986 he criticised the Thatcher Government for allowing the United States to bomb Libya from UK bases, in 1987 he campaigned against the loss of trade union
Liberal Democrats (UK)
The Liberal Democrats are a liberal political party in the United Kingdom. They have 11 Members of Parliament in the House of Commons, 96 members of the House of Lords, one member of the European Parliament, five Members of the Scottish Parliament and one member in the Welsh Assembly and London Assembly. At the height of its influence, the party formed a coalition government with the Conservative Party from 2010 to 2015 with its leader Nick Clegg serving as Deputy Prime Minister, it is led by Sir Vince Cable. In 1981, an electoral alliance was established between the Liberal Party, a group, the direct descendent of the 18th-century Whigs, the Social Democratic Party, a splinter group from the Labour Party. In 1988 this alliance was formalised as the Liberal Democrats. Under the leadership of Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy, the party grew during the 1990s and 2000s, focusing its campaigning on specific seats and becoming the third largest party in the House of Commons. Under its leader Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats were junior partners in a coalition government headed by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, with Clegg serving as Deputy Prime Minister.
The coalition damaged the Liberal Democrats' electoral prospects: the party was reduced from 57 to 8 seats at the 2015 election. Positioned in the centre ground of British politics, the Liberal Democrats are ideologically liberal. Emphasising stronger protections for civil liberties, the party promotes liberal approaches to issues like LGBT rights, education policy, criminal justice. Different factions take different approaches to economic issues; the party is pro-Europeanist, supporting continued UK membership of the European Union and greater European integration. It calls for electoral reform with a transition from the first-past-the-post voting system to one of proportional representation. Other policies have included further environmental protections and drug liberalisation laws, while it has opposed certain UK military engagements like the Iraq War; the party is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and Liberal International. The Liberal Democrats are strongest in northern Scotland, southwest London, southwest England, mid-Wales.
The Liberal Democrats were formed on 3 March 1988 by a merger between the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party, which had formed a pact nearly seven years earlier as the SDP–Liberal Alliance. The Liberal Party, founded in 1859, were descended from the Whigs and Peelites, while the SDP were a party created in 1981 by former Labour Party members, MPs and cabinet ministers, but gained defections from the Conservative Party. Having declined to third party status after the rise of the Labour Party from 1918 and during the 1920s, the Liberals were challenged for this position in the 1980s when a group of Labour MPs broke away and established the Social Democratic Party; the SDP and the Liberals realised that there was no space for two political parties of the centre and entered into the SDP–Liberal Alliance so that they would not stand against each other in elections. The Alliance was led by Roy Jenkins; the two parties had their own policies and emphases, but produced a joint manifesto for the 1983 and 1987 general elections.
Following disappointing results in the 1987 election, Steel proposed to merge the two parties. Although opposed by Owen, it was supported by a majority of members of both parties, they formally merged in March 1988, with Steel and Robert Maclennan as joint interim leaders; the new party was named Social and Liberal Democrats with the unofficial short form The Democrats being used from September 1988. The name was subsequently changed to Liberal Democrats in October 1989, shortened to Lib Dems; the new party logo, the Bird of Liberty, was adopted in 1989. The minority of the SDP who rejected the merger remained under Owen's leadership in a rump SDP. Michael Meadowcroft joined the Liberal Democrats in 2007 but some of his former followers continue still as the Liberal Party, most notably in a couple of electoral wards of the cities of Liverpool and Peterborough; the then-serving Liberal MP Paddy Ashdown was elected leader in July 1988. At the 1989 European Elections, the party received only 6% of the vote, putting them in fourth place after the Green Party.
They failed to gain a single Member of the European Parliament at this election. Over the next three years, the party recovered under Ashdown's leadership, they performed better at the 1990 local elections and in by-elections—including at Eastbourne in 1990 which saw the first success by a Liberal Democrat standing for parliament. They had further successes in Ribble Valley and Kincardine & Deeside in 1991; the Lib Dems did not reach the share of national votes in the 1990s that the Alliance had achieved in the 1980s. At their first election in 1992, they won 17.8 % of twenty seats. In the 1994 European Elections, the party gained its first two Members of European Parliament. Following the election of Tony Blair as Labour leader in July 1994 after the death of his predecessor John Smith, Ashdown pursued co-operation between the two parties becaus
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands to further European integration. On 9 -- 10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council; the treaty founded the European Union and established its pillar structure which stayed in place until the Lisbon Treaty came into force in 2009. The treaty greatly expanded the competences of the EEC/EU and led to the creation of the single European currency, the euro; the Maastricht Treaty reformed and amended the treaties establishing the European Communities, the EU's first pillar. It renamed European Economic Community the European Community, to reflect its expanded competences beyond economic matters; the Maastricht Treaty created two new "pillars" of the EU on Common Foreign and Security Policy and Cooperation in the Fields of Justice and Home Affairs, which replaced the former informal intergovernmental cooperation bodies named TREVI and European Political Cooperation on EU Foreign policy coordination.
The Maastricht Treaty and all pre-existing treaties, has subsequently been further amended by the treaties of Amsterdam and Lisbon. Today it is one of two treaties forming the constitutional basis of the European Union, the other being the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. While the current version of the TEU entered into force in 2009, following the Treaty of Lisbon, the older form of the same document was implemented by the Treaty of Maastricht; the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht took place in Maastricht, Netherlands, on 7 February 1992. The Dutch government, by virtue of holding Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the negotiations in the second half of 1991, arranged a ceremony inside the government buildings of the Limburg province on the river Maas. Representatives from the twelve member states of the European Communities were present, signed the treaty as plenipotentiaries, marking the conclusion of the period of negotiations. Only three countries held referendums.
The process of ratifying the treaty was fraught with difficulties in three states. In Denmark, the first Danish Maastricht Treaty referendum was held on 2 June 1992 and ratification of the treaty was rejected by a margin of 50.7% to 49.3%. Subsequently, alterations were made to the treaty through the addition of the Edinburgh Agreement which lists four Danish exceptions, this treaty was ratified the following year on 18 May 1993 after a second referendum was held in Denmark, with legal effect after the formally granted royal assent on 9 June 1993. In September 1992, a referendum in France only narrowly supported the ratification of the treaty, with 50.8% in favour. This narrow vote for ratification in France, known at the time as the ‘petite oui’, led Jacques Delors to comment that,'Europe began as an elitist project in which it was believed that all, required was to convince the decision-makers; that phase of benign despotism is over.' Uncertainty over the Danish and French referendums was one of the causes of the turmoil on the currency markets in September 1992, which led to the UK pound's expulsion from the Exchange Rate Mechanism.
In the United Kingdom, an opt-out from the treaty's social provisions was opposed in Parliament by the opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs and the treaty itself by the Maastricht Rebels within the governing Conservative Party. The number of rebels exceeded the Conservative majority in the House of Commons, thus the government of John Major came close to losing the confidence of the House. In accordance with British constitutional convention that of parliamentary sovereignty, ratification in the UK was not subject to approval by referendum. Despite this, the British constitutional historian Vernon Bogdanor suggests that there was “a clear constitutional rationale for requiring a referendum” based on the allocation of legislative power; the TEU entered into force on 1 November 1993. Treaties amending the TEU: Treaty of Amsterdam Treaty of Nice Treaty of Lisbon The treaty led to the creation of the euro. One of the obligations of the treaty for the members was to keep "sound fiscal policies, with debt limited to 60% of GDP and annual deficits no greater than 3% of GDP".
The treaty created what was referred to as the pillar structure of the European Union. The treaty established the three pillars of the European Union—one supranational pillar created from three European Communities, the Common Foreign and Security Policy pillar, the Justice and Home Affairs pillar; the first pillar was where the EU's supra-national institutions—the Commission, the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice—had the most power and influence. The other two pillars were more intergovernmental in nature with decisions being made by committees composed of member states' politicians and officials. All three pillars were the extensions of existing policy structures; the European Community pillar was the continuation of the European Economic Community with the "Economic" being dropped from the name to represent the wider policy base given by the Maastricht Treaty. Coordination in foreign policy had taken place since the beginning of the 1970s under the name of European Political Cooperation, first written into the treaties by the Single European Act but not as a part of the EEC.
While the Justice and Home Affairs pillar extended cooperatio
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