Independent Labour Party

Logo of the Independent Labour Party.svg
The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a British political party of the left, established in 1893, when the Liberals appeared reluctant to endorse working-class candidates, representing the interests of the majority. A sitting independent MP and prominent union organiser, Keir Hardie, became its first chairman.

The word ‘Labour’ was chosen for the title, rather than ‘Socialist’, which at that time was almost synonymous with ‘Marxist’. Still it was positioned to the left of Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour Representation Committee, founded in 1900 and soon renamed the Labour Party, with whom it was affiliated from 1906-1932. In 1947, the organisation's three parliamentary representatives defected to the Labour Party, and the organisation rejoined Labour as Independent Labour Publications in 1975.

As the nineteenth century came to a close, working-class representation in political office became a great concern for many Britons. Many who sought the election of working men and their advocates to the Parliament of the United Kingdom saw the Liberal Party as the main vehicle for achieving this aim. As early as 1869, a Labour Representation League had been established to register and mobilise working-class voters on behalf of favoured Liberal candidates.

Many trade unions themselves became concerned with gaining parliamentary representation to advance their legislative aims. From the 1870s a series of working-class candidates financially supported by trade unions were accepted and supported by the Liberal Party. The federation of British unions, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), formed its own electoral committee in 1886 to further advance its electoral goals.

Many socialist intellectuals, particularly those influenced by Christian socialism and similar notions of the ethical need for a restructuring of society, also saw the Liberals as the most obvious means for obtaining working-class representation. Within two years of its foundation in 1884, the gradualist Fabian Society officially committed itself to a policy of permeation of the Liberal Party.

A number of so-called "Lib-Lab" candidates were subsequently elected Members of Parliament by this alliance of trade unions and radical intellectuals working within the Liberal Party.

This page was last edited on 20 February 2018, at 11:02.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Labour_Party under CC BY-SA license.

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