Following the collapse of the Labour Government, it was the TUC General Council which held the party together, insisting, despite the reluctance of the new leader, Arthur Henderson, on the expulsion of MacDonald and the others. In December 1931 the General. Council increased its representation on the National Joint Council of Labour, a consultative body representing the Parliamentary Party, the National Executive and the TUC, and used it to impose its will on the Labour Party as a whole. The ability of the General Council to dominate the Labour Party in the 1930s rested not only on the decisive role it had played in August 1931, but also on the overwhelming predominance of trade unionists in the Parliamentary Party following the 1931 election. Half the Labour MPs were sponsored by the Miners Federation alone.
Between 1931, when the Party Conference demanded that any future Labour Government must undertake 'definite socialist legislation', and 1934, when the party settled its domestic policy for the remainder of the decade, a major reassessment of the politics of parliamentary gradualism was undertaken. The early 1930s saw a fundamental debate about what Tawney called 'the radiant ambiguities of the word Socialism'. Party intellectuals organised in the Socialist League (established 1932) and Cole New Fabian Research Bureau (established 1931) discussed the lessons of the crisis and issued an avalanche of advice. One conclusion was that to avoid destruction by a financial crisis any future socialist Government would have to nationalise both the Bank of England and the joint-stock banks. Beyond this there was talk of taking emergency powers over finance and investment, abolishing the House of Lords and reforming House of Commons procedure. The Socialist League was strident on the need for emergency legislation if a Labour Government was to survive its first few months in office and get