A Pressure-group under Pressure (1906–14)

  • Henry Pelling


As soon as the 1906 Parliament assembled, the L.R.C. assumed the name of ‘Labour Party’ and its twenty-nine M.P.s elected officers and whips. The life of the party in the following eight years, 1906–14, although undergoing many vicissitudes, yet has a certain unity for analytical purposes. The great tide of Liberal feeling, which had brought the Labour Party to Parliament, ebbed considerably, as was shown by the two elections in 1910; and the Labour Party, only too much like a cork, ebbed with it, and lost a few seats in the 1910 elections. The apparent increase in the number of Labour M.P.s — from twenty-nine in 1906 to forty after the first 1910 election and forty-two after the second 1910 election — is entirely accounted for by the accession of most of the miners’ M.P.s, formerly ‘Lib-Labs’, after the Miners Federation decided to join the Labour Party in 1909. Furthermore, after the second 1910 election the Labour Party strength was reduced by the loss of by-elections, and at the outbreak of war numbered only thirty-seven, of whom twelve were miners’ representatives. It will be seen, then, that the record of the parliamentary party in these eight years was not one of numerical advance in any real sense.


Trade Union Short History Social Reform Labour Party Great Tide 
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Copyright information

© Henry Pelling 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Pelling
    • 1
  1. 1.St John’s CollegeCambridgeUK

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