‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

1924 election defeat for Labour, but not a bad result

Today is the anniversary of the 1924 general election, which brought an end to the first Labour government after less than 10 months in office. This might sound like a disaster for the Labour Party, but it was far from it.

Ramsay MacDonald had used Labour’s first term in power to demonstrate that his party was moderate and responsible.

Although Labour lost the 1924 election to the Conservatives, the Labour Party actually increased their vote from 4.4m in the previous election held less than a year earlier to nearly 5.5m. The party suffered a drop in seats from 191 to 151.

The Conservative Party won the 1924 election with 419 seats and went on to form what was to become the only single party government between the wars which was to serve nearly a full term in office.

The undoubted losers of the 1924 election were the Liberals, who crashed from 159 seats to just 40. The party leader, Asquith, lost his seat in Paisley.

So, what looked like a serious defeat for the Labour Party in 1924 turned out to be a small setback. The Labour Party was back in power again in May 1929, but this time the victory turned into disaster in the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash.

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