Liberal-Labour (UK)

Liberal-Labour (UK)

Liberal-Labour (UK)

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"Lib-Lab(s)" redirects here. See Lib-Lab pact for UK Liberal Party-Labour Party agreements and LibLab for the Norwegian think-tank.


The Liberal–Labour movement refers to the practice of local Liberal associations accepting and supporting candidates who were financially maintained by trade unions. These candidates stood for the British Parliament with the aim of representing the working classes, while remaining supportive of the Liberal Party in general.

The first Lib–Lab candidates, Alexander MacDonald and Thomas Burt, both members of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB), were elected in the 1874 general election. In 1880, they were joined by Henry Broadhurst of the Stonemasons' Union and the movement reached its peak in 1885, with twelve MPs elected.

The candidates generally stood with the support of the Liberal Party, the Labour Representation League and one or more trade unions. After 1885, decline set in. Disillusion grew from the defeat of the Manningham Mills Strike, a series of decisions restricting the activity of unions, culminating in the Taff Vale Case and largely unchallenged by the Liberal Party, and the foundation of the Independent Labour Party in 1892 followed by its turn towards trade unionism.

The formation of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900 followed by the Labour Party in 1906, meant that in the House of Commons, there were two groups of MPs containing Trade Union sponsored MPs, sitting on either side of the chamber....
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