Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The First Labour Party 1869 TUC/Labour Representation League

The Labour Representation League
(Left Alexander MacDonald (Stafford) - Right Thomas Burt (Morpeth)
It can be argued that The Labour Representation League is Britain’s first working class party. 
The LRL was essentially a product or off shoot of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and its main proponent was John Stuart Mill.
The Labour Representation League was established in 1869 and at the 1874 secured the election of Britain's first two Labour Members of Parliament (both miners union representatives) Alexander MacDonald (Stafford) and Thomas Burt (Morpeth)
 They were later joined by Henry Broadhurst MP for Stoke in 1880, at its peak the LRL could claim fifteen MP’s.
The LRL lacked direction and a coherent programme beyond that of securing the election of working class and trade union MP’s and was crippled by the trade union leader’s historic reluctance to break with the Liberal Party.
In 1893 the Labour Representation League ceased to exist as a separate organisation, many of its MP’s by this time having being integrated into the Liberal Party.
In August 1871 The Labour Representation League officers were
President: R. Marsden Latham
Treasurer: William Allen
Secretary: Lloyd Jones
The Labour Representation League headquarters were based at 21 Cockspur Street, London
100 years ago, in an inspiring and relevant even to day, call to arms, the Labour Representation League issued the following statement in August 1872
“We call on you to again engage in your old fight with men in power.
Gather yourselves together in every constituency. Disregard meaningless party cries and as a first necessary step for vindication of your claims, punish by exclusion from Parliament the men who by their political treachery, cowardice and vulgar worship of wealth have decreed that you shall not cause to have branded on you the degrading stigma of political inferiority”
On Britain's first Labour MP's elected in 1874
Alexander MacDonald  - Stafford (27 June 1821 – 31 October 1881) son of an agricultural worker from New Monkland, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Thomas Burt - Morpeth  (12th November 1837 - 12th  April 1922)  son of a miner from Murton Row in Northumberland