Monday, January 29, 2024

100 years of Labour achievement: 1924-2024

"January 2024 is the 100th anniversary of the first ever Labour government.

In the election the previous month, Labour secured its best result up until that point, pushing the Liberals into third. The Conservatives failed to get an overall majority and Labour, tacitly supported by the Liberals, formed a minority government.

The men and women who formed Labour’s government included many of the greats who had led Labour in its first quarter-century. Ramsay MacDonald was Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, Arthur Henderson the Home Secretary and Philip Snowden Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The election had also seen the election of the first three female Labour MPs: Margaret Bondfield, Dorothy Jewson and Susan Lawrence. Bondfield would later become the first female cabinet minister and the first woman to be a privy counsellor in the UK.

Although the first Labour government only lasted nine months, it achieved much, including the Wheatley Housing Act that saw half a million council homes built over the next decade. Labour also planned new and improved schools, improved pensions and benefits, and laid the foundations for the extension of voting rights to millions more.

Perhaps its greatest achievement was lasting as long as it did, brought down in the end by dirty tricks and lies in the press. Labour had proved it could be a party of government, competent in office and achieving results for working people. The political landscape in Britain had changed forever.

Since 1924, Labour governments have been beacons of progress and social justice. Through times of struggle, of conflict, of economic depression, it has been Labour that has fought for working people here and around the world. A Century of Progress".

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