The Labour Party is the main centre-left political party in the United Kingdom. They are a social democratic party and have been one of the UK's two main political parties from the early 20th century, to the present day. They are currently the second largest party in the British House of Commons, with 232 out of 650 seats and they form the Official Opposition. Their last leader was Ed Miliband. Their current leader is Jeremy Corbyn, who was elected on 12 September 2015.
The Labour Party was in power in the United Kingdom government from 1997 to 2010, but now sits in opposition. It was in power in the Scottish Parliament (in coalition with the Scottish Liberal Democrats) until 2007, and is the second largest grouping on the London Assembly, although the Mayor of London until May 2008 was a Labour party member. It is also the 2nd largest party in Local government and the 2nd largest UK party in the European Parliament.
The party was officially formed in 1906, just after the general election, as a successor of the Labour Representative Committee formed in 1900. In 1918, the party made a new constitution with the commitment to socialism, or the socialization of the industry. This could be found in Clause 4. The Labour Party won the general election in 1945 for the first time. From 1951 Labour was in opposition for thirteen years, during which there were serious fights between the left and right wings of the party. The leader of the left wing was Aneurin Bevan. His supporters were called the "Bevanites". They wanted a less confrontational policy in foreign affairs and more socialist actions. The leaders of the right wing were Clement Attlee and Hugh Gaitskell. They believed that Western capitalism had changed a lot and that socialism and public ownership was not so important. Gaitskell tried to remove Clause 4 from the party constitution at the 1959 conference, but he could not.
In 1994, Tony Blair forced the Labour Party to drop Clause 4. This was an important step to change the party into "New Labour".
In 2015, dark horse candidate Jeremy Corbyn announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Labour Party. At the beginning, he was thought of as a socialist fringe candidate, but he later became the lead candidate in polls and got the support of the majority of trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party, along with those of three non-affiliated unions. On 12 September 2015, he was elected Leader of the Labour Party, with a landslide vote of 59.5% in the first round of the ballot.
Past Leaders (since 1906)
- Keir Hardie, 1906–1908
- Arthur Henderson, 1908–1910
- George Nicoll Barnes, 1910–1911
- Ramsay MacDonald, 1911–1914
- Arthur Henderson, 1914–1917
- William Adamson, 1917–1921
- John Robert Clynes, 1921–1922
- Ramsay MacDonald, 1922–1931
- Arthur Henderson, 1931–1932
- George Lansbury, 1932–1935
- Clement Attlee, 1935–1955
- Hugh Gaitskell, 1955–1963
- George Brown, 1963 (Acting)
- Harold Wilson, 1963–1976
- James Callaghan, 1976–1980
- Michael Foot, 1980–1983
- Neil Kinnock, 1983–1992
- John Smith, 1992–1994
- Margaret Beckett, 1994 (Acting)
- Tony Blair, 1994–2007
- Gordon Brown, 2007–2010
- Harriet Harman, 2010 (Acting)
- Ed Miliband, 2010–2015
- Harriet Harman, 2015 (Acting)
- Jeremy Corbyn, 2015
Labour Prime Ministers
|Name||Portrait||Country of birth||Time in Office|
|Ramsay MacDonald||Scotland||1924; 1929-1931|
|Harold Wilson||England||1964-1970; 1974-1976|
Images for kids
Keir Hardie, one of the Labour Party's founders and its first leader
Clement Attlee: Labour Prime Minister, 1945–51
Harold Wilson: Labour Prime Minister, 1964–70 and 1974–76
Michael Foot: leader of the party in opposition, 1980–83
Neil Kinnock: leader of the party in opposition, 1983–92
Jeremy Corbyn, current leader of the party
Unite the Union showing their support for the Labour party on their Leeds offices during the 2015 general election
Labour Party (UK) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.