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Summary of Problems
1. A small majority in the House of Commons.
2. Divisions within the Labour Party.
3. Economic Problems: Inflation (rising prices)
4. Economic Problems: IMF loan = spending
cuts
5. The rise of Thatcher
6. The Winter of Discontent
7. Political Miscalculations…read more

Slide 3

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A small majority in the House of
Commons.
· Labour won two elections in 1974.
· The party ended up with a majority of 3.
· By 1977, Labour had lost this majority and was forced
to rely on the Liberals to pass laws.
· This was known as the Lib-Lab pact.
· The Liberals hoped to persuade the government to
change the electoral system (First Past the Post), as
the Liberals do not do well out of this system. Why?
· The Liberals failed to get what they wanted, and so in
1978 withdrew from the pact.…read more

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A small majority in the House of
Commons.
Consequence:
· The government was therefore forced to turn to the
nationalists. Nationalists are parties that want
Scottish and Welsh independence from Britain.
· The government promised Scottish, Welsh and
Northern Irish voters a chance to vote on devolution.
· Devolution involves the transfer of some power from
Westminster (central government) to regional bodies
(e.g. the Scottish Parliament). It does not mean
"independence".
· The referendums (a public vote) ended in devolution
being rejected.
· The nationalist parties withdrew their support for
Labour in 1979.
· A Vote of Confidence was held, which the government
lost. A general election had then to be called.…read more

Slide 5

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Divisions within the Labour Party
· Callaghan and Wilson supported the Post
War Consensus.
· This called for a mixed economy, but it
also called for "pragmatism" ­ not
sticking too rigidly to one ideology.
(socialism/liberalism etc)
· There were many in the Labour cabinet
that wanted the party to move to the
left, and to follow socialism.…read more

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Divisions within the Labour Party
· The leader of the left wing of the party was Tony
Benn. He called for nuclear disarmament, for
withdrawal from the EEC, for the abolition of the
House of Lords and for state ownership of the nation'
s top 25 companies.
· At the same time, radical left wingers joined the
party. They were associated with "extremist" causes
such as homosexuality, feminism and sympathy for a
united Ireland.
· These new members were called "Militant", and were
associated with local councils that often spent more
than they could afford (Liverpool, Greater London
Council led by Ken Livingstone). They also tended to
support union action.…read more

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