Chapter

The Labour Opposition of Northern Ireland, 1958–65

Aaron Edwards

in A History of the Northern Ireland Labour Party

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780719078743
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702390 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719078743.003.0004
The Labour Opposition of Northern Ireland, 1958–65

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Labour was greatly facilitated in its bid to direct public attention away from the border issue by Nationalist indifference towards the IRA's campaign. The Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) was recognised as Her Majesty's Official Opposition. The conduct of the Unionist government administration in its fight against the IRA caused a major headache for British political parties. Northern Ireland's poor socio-economic prospects suffocated the unique qualities of homegrown talent. Terence O'Neill's liberalism sought to steer a middle course between the right of his party and the left of the NILP. The NILP's failure to secure any parliamentary representation at the 1964 Westminster Election only sapped at Tom Boyd's political energy. The full extent of Labour's disastrous performance was not appreciated until six months later when Sam Napier submitted his audit to the Executive Committee (EC). It then became clear that the Protestant working class was undergoing fluctuations of a sectarian nature.

Keywords: Parliamentary Labour Party; Northern Ireland; NILP; IRA; Terence O'Neill; Sam Napier; British political parties; liberalism; 1964 Westminster Election; Tom Boyd

Chapter.  23219 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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