Formation of the Labour Party

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Formation of the Labour Party

Farringdon, London The 27th of February 1900 AD

Although the Labour Party itself sees February 27 1900 as the date when the party began life, what was formed then was not in fact a party, but a coalition of like-minded groups with a view to achieving representation in Parliament for the working classes. The name ‘Labour Party’ would not be adopted until several years later.
The grouping called itself The Labour Representation Committee, and was formed at the conclusion of a two-day conference in London’s Memorial Hall on Farringdon Street. The 129 delegates from the Fabian Society, Independent Labour Party, Scottish Labour Party, Social Democratic Federation and various trades unions united behind Keir Hardie’s motion to create: “A distinct Labour group in Parliament.” Cynics may comment that such unity was short-lived and the party has divided into factions ever since, perhaps inevitably given the significant class and political differences between the various original components.
Ramsay MacDonald became the Labour Representation Committee’s secretary, partly because he (via his wife) was independently wealthy so no salary cost accrued to the new body. In October 1900 the new political force fielded 15 candidates, with Keir Hardie and Richard Bell winning seats: the seeds of future power had been sown.

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