labour divisons

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  • labour divisons
    • The labour party was suffering from deep internal problems and these intensified during the 50s. The splits in the labour party widened during the late 50s
      • Both Gaitskill and devan stood for leader when Attlee stepped down. Gaitskell was seen as being more on the right of the labour party while devan was left wing. Gaitskell won.
    • The left-wingers wanted the labour party to be more socialist and there was also opposition to the party leadership from the trade unions and simmering divisions over nuclear weapons.
      • initially, Bevan opposed to the UK developing unclear weapons but in 1957 he announced his opposition to unilateral nuclear disarmament. However many left-wing labour MPs joined the CND
        • links between labour and CND may have turned some voters aways
    • Until the late 1950s, the unions had been happy with full employment and their leaders were moderates.
      • However, in 1956 left-winger frank cousins became the leader of the most powerful unions TGWU. cousins then led fierce union opposition to Gaitskell over nuclear weapons.
    • despite divisons labour entered the 1959 election with some confidence. Gaitskell was a confident and effective campaigner promoting moderate policies that labour thought would be popular
      • After the extensive defeat, the divisions became even more apparent and battles over the direction of the party were fought out at the annual party conference’s
        • in 1959 just before the general election, Gaitskell put forward the idea of the abolishment of clause 4 which committed the party to nationalisation.
          • It soon became clear however that opposition from the left-wing and from some union leaders would be great so he backed down without putting it to the vote.
    • Labour’s political position slowly improved after the 1960s. It appeared more united. cultural shifts in the country made the public more critical of the Tory government


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