Empire Free Trade Crusade

Empire Free Trade Crusade

Empire Free Trade Crusade

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The Empire Free Trade Crusade was a political party in the United Kingdom. It was founded by Lord Beaverbrook in July 1929 to press for the British Empire to become a free trade bloc.

The group was founded to oppose both the Labour minority government, elected in 1929, and Conservative leader Stanley Baldwin's protectionist policies, which they viewed as insufficient.

Beaverbrook began enrolling members at the end of 1929, after concluding that Baldwin would not be won to his aim. In 1930, he briefly joined Lord Rothermere's United Empire Party, and the two parties worked together thereafter.

In October, Ernest Taylor stood for the party in the Paddington South by-election, winning a previously safe Conservative seat. A second candidate in the Westminster St George's by-election, 1931 was beaten by the Conservatives. This began a decline for the group, accelerated when Taylor joined the Conservative Party after they won the 1931 UK general election. Beaverbrook maintained the group until the late 1930s, but it did not contest any further elections.


  • Peter Barberis, John McHugh and Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations

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