Philip Snowden: The First Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer

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Philip Snowden: The First Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer

Philip Snowden: The First Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer

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In 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. This alienated many of the party's more right-wing supporters. The Bennites were in the ascendency and there was very little that the right could do to resist or water down the manifesto, many also hoped that a landslide defeat would discredit Michael Foot and the hard left of the party moving Labour away from explicit Socialism and towards weaker social-democracy. Francis (1995) argues there was consensus both in the Labour's national executive committee and at party conferences on a definition of socialism that stressed moral improvement as well as material improvement. The Attlee government was committed to rebuilding British society as an ethical commonwealth, using public ownership and controls to abolish extremes of wealth and poverty. Labour's ideology contrasted sharply with the contemporary Conservative Party's defence of individualism, inherited privileges, and income inequality. [79] Because the government had to rely on the support of the Liberals, it was unable to get any arguably socialist legislation passed by the House of Commons. The most significant measure was the Wheatley Housing Act which began a building programme of 500,000 homes for rent to working-class families. A graph showing the percentage of the popular vote received by major parties in general elections (1832–2005), with the rapid rise of the Labour Party after its founding during the late 19th century being clear as it became one of the two major forces in politics

In the 2010 general election on 6 May that year, Labour with 29.0% of the vote won the second largest number of seats (258). The Conservatives with 36.5% of the vote won the largest number of seats (307), but no party had an overall majority, meaning that Labour could still remain in power if they managed to form a coalition with at least one smaller party. [169] However, the Labour Party would have had to form a coalition with more than one other smaller party to gain an overall majority; anything less would result in a minority government. [170] On 10 May 2010, after talks to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats broke down, Gordon Brown announced his intention to stand down as Leader before the Labour Party Conference but a day later resigned as both Prime Minister and party leader. [171] 2010–present: Return to opposition and internal conflict [ edit ] Mark Drakeford is the current First Minister of Wales, since 13 December 2018 As noted by one historian, in summing up the reform record of Wilson's government, "In spite of the economic problems encountered by the First Wilson Government and in spite of (and to some degree in response to) the criticisms of its own supporters, Labour presided over a notable expansion of state welfare during its time in office." [107] "In Place of Strife" [ edit ]

The "modernisation" of Labour Party policy and the unpopularity of John Major's Conservative government, along with a well co-ordinated use of PR, greatly increased Labour's appeal to " middle England". The party was concerned not to put off potential voters who had previously supported the Conservatives, and pledged to keep to the spending plans of the previous government, and not to increase the basic rate of income tax. The party won the 1997 election with a landslide majority of 179. Following a second and third election victory in the 2001 election and the 2005 election, the name has diminished in significance. "New Labour" as a name has no official status but remains in common use to distinguish modernisers from those holding to more traditional positions who normally are referred to as "Old Labour". The 1973 oil crisis had caused a legacy of high inflation in the British economy which peaked at 26.9% in 1975. The Wilson and Callaghan governments attempted to combat this by entering into a social contract with the trade unions, which introduced wage restraint and limited pay rises to limits set by the government. This policy was initially fairly successful at controlling inflation, which had been reduced to 7.4% by 1978. [13] In the decade following the Second World War, Labour councils played an important part in the housing reconstruction that followed the end of the conflict, and stood as important players in the reconstruction of housing and city centres. In Newcastle, under the leadership of the visionary but corrupt T. Dan Smith, an accelerated "modernisation" of the city took place, as characterised by an ambitious programme of road construction and public building and the replacement of slum terraces with new innovative estates such as the Byker "wall." [3] Labour reforms in the inter-war period Toggle Local Labour reforms in the inter-war period subsection

Among the early acts of Tony Blair's government were the establishment of the national minimum wage, the devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the re-creation of a citywide government body for London, the Greater London Authority, with its own elected- Mayor. Combined with a Conservative opposition that had yet to organise effectively under William Hague, and the continuing popularity of Blair, Labour went on to win the 2001 election with a similar majority, dubbed the "quiet landslide" by the media. [155]Attlee's government proved itself to be one of the most radical British governments of the 20th century, implementing the economic theories of Liberal economist John Maynard Keynes, presiding over a policy of nationalising major industries and utilities including the Bank of England, coal mining, the steel industry, electricity, gas, telephones, and inland transport including railways, road haulage and canals. It developed and implemented the "cradle to grave" welfare state conceived by the Liberal economist William Beveridge. To this day the party considers the 1948 creation of Britain's publicly funded National Health Service under health minister Aneurin Bevan its proudest achievement. [80] Attlee's government also began the process of dismantling the British Empire when it granted independence to India and Pakistan in 1947, followed by Burma (Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) the following year. At a secret meeting in January 1947, Attlee and six cabinet ministers, including Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, decided to proceed with the development of Britain's nuclear weapons programme, [36] in opposition to the pacifist and anti-nuclear stances of a large element inside the Labour Party. Meanwhile, the Liberal Party declined rapidly and the party suffered a catastrophic split that allowed the Labour Party to co-opt much of the Liberals' support. The 1910 election saw 42 Labour MPs elected to the House of Commons, a significant victory since, a year before the election, the House of Lords had passed the Osborne judgment ruling that Trades Unions in the United Kingdom could no longer donate money to fund the election campaigns and wages of Labour MPs. The governing Liberals were unwilling to repeal this judicial decision with primary legislation. The height of Liberal compromise was to introduce a wage for Members of Parliament to remove the need to involve the Trade Unions. By 1913, faced with the opposition of the largest Trades Unions, the Liberal government passed the Trade Disputes Act to allow Trade Unions to fund Labour MPs once more. Labour achieved a number of by-election upsets in the later part of the 1930s despite the depression ending and unemployment falling. Nevertheless, they remained a small weak party in Parliament. The exact reasons for the victory are still debated. During the war, public opinion surveys showed public opinion moving to the left and in favour of radical social reform. [36] There was little public appetite for a return to the poverty and mass unemployment of the inter-war years which had become associated with the Conservatives.

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