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The Labour Party, 1890-1951

2. 1914-1929

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About this Lecture


In this module, we chart the development of the Labour Party from the outbreak of the First World War to the formation of its second minority government in 1929. In particular, we think about: (i) the impact of the First World War, (ii) the creation of the 1918 Labour Party Constitution and the significance of Clause IV which committed the party to socialism, (iii) the expansion of the Labour vote after the 1918 Representation of the People Act, and (iv) the failure of the General Strike in 1926 and the consequent politicisation of trade unionists who turned to Labour.


In this course, Professor Keith Laybourn (University of Huddersfield) considers the early history of the Labour Party from its foundations in the trade union movement of the late nineteenth century to the achievements of Clement Attlee’s post-war Labour government. We begin in the first module by critically examining historians’ explanations for the rapid growth of the Labour Party in the early twentieth century. In the second module, we think about the development of the Labour Party from the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 to the formation of the second Labour minority government under Ramsay MacDonald in 1929. In the third module, we focus on the collapse of the 1929 Labour government and the establishment in 1931 of a National Government, focusing in particular on the debate about MacDonald’s role in the 1929 government’s collapse. Finally, in the fourth module we focus on Labour’s post-war achievements during its first majority governments under Clement Attlee from 1945-51.


Keith Laybourn is the Diamond Jubilee Professor at the University of Huddersfield.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Laybourn, K. (2019, September 26). The Labour Party, 1890-1951 - 1914-1929 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Laybourn, K. "The Labour Party, 1890-1951 – 1914-1929." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Dec 2019,