Independent Labour Party

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The party was established in 1893 at a conference in Bradford, composed of 120 delegates largely drawn from the industrial north and Scotland and chaired by Keir Hardie. Chronic lack of union funding and modest successes at local and parliamentary elections led the ILP to take the initiative in forming the Labour Representation Committee in 1900. With the outbreak of war in 1914, a significant number of ILP members including Ramsay MacDonald adopted a pacifist stance. Some became involved in the Union of Democratic Control, thereby strengthening contact between Labour and left‐wing Liberals.

Disappointment over the second Labour government (1929–31) accelerated the leftward drift of the ILP and made many of its members rebellious in Parliament. As a result the party, under the Clydeside firebrand Jimmy Maxton, disaffiliated from Labour in 1932. By 1935 the ILP, which assumed a neo‐Marxist character, had fewer than 5,000 members, only a quarter of the previous figure.

Subjects: British History.

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