Labour Party 1900-14
The working class were workers who earned living through manual labour, they earned wages through working for others. In 1918 75% - 80% of population in Britain were working class. In this period working class became aware of solidarity with other working classes, regardless of occupation. They also became aware of class conflict, that they were exploited by employers - employers were now opponents. Real wages were also failing to meet rise in living costs and Britain’s wealth.
They were formed by workers to get better deals from employers. These 'better deals' were concerning better pay, shorter hours and working conditions. Before 1850 trade ‘model’ unions small groups of skilled workers existing to help members and run saving schemes. By 1914 4 million workers were in trade unions. They organised mass strikes to commanded attention of their employers, the newspapers and the government.
The emergence of the Labour party
The parliamentary reform acts of 1867 and 1884 gave the votes to an increasing number of working class men, and the Liberals hoped that these would naturally vote for the Liberal Party. However the Liberal Party made the mistake of rejecting candidates who were working class men from running for a seat in parliament for them. For instead, they turned down trade unionist James Keir Hardie. By rejecting able and independently minded working class men as candidates the Liberal Party created the climate for the establishment of a separate and distinct political party for the working classes: Labour.
The Labour Representation Committee
· Formed in February 1900 from a combination of Socialists, ILP members (Independent Labour Party) and trade unions
· Aimed to establish a Labour group in parliament to protect the direct interests of working people
The 1900 Election
When the Labour Party came into existence in 1900, its first secretary was Ramsay MacDonald. He was a good organiser and an important factor in the LRC's future success. An election was called in 1900 just 8 months after the party's formation so the LRC had no time…