The MacDonald Leadership (1922–31)
The years 1922–31 were the years of Ramsay MacDonald’s leadership of the Labour Party. The very concept of ‘leadership’ was something of a novelty: but MacDonald was a leader in a sense that none of his predecessors in the party chairmanship (including himself before the war) had been. From 1922 he was described as not just the ‘chairman’ of the parliamentary party but as its ‘chairman and leader’. The phrase was used to indicate that he was also Leader of the Opposition and potential Prime Minister. The fact that the parliamentary party had established its right to be regarded as the official Opposition in the Commons meant additional prestige and importance for its principal spokesman, who now became the prospective dispenser of government patronage. Similarly, the parliamentary party as a whole considerably increased its standing vis-à-vis the trade unions.
KeywordsForeign Policy Communist Party Short History Labour Movement Labour Party
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