The First Labour Government, 1924

By Richard W. Lyman | Go to book overview

XV
THE ELECTION OF 1924 Dimensions of Defeat

THE election of 29 October 1924 put an abrupt end to the period of minority government in Britain which many had assumed would last for years. 1The Conservatives gained 155 seats, and returned to power 413 strong. Labour had 151, a loss of 40. The Liberals, who ten months earlier had dreamed of office, returned a mere rump of 40, a loss of 118 seats. 2

Labour lost largely in the marginal areas where it had gained the previous year. In Eastern England there were 6 losses and only Noel Buxton, the Minister of Agriculture, stemmed the tide. 3In Greater London (outside the County), Labour's representation fell from 15 to 7; in Lancashire and Cheshire from 24 to 18; in Scotland from 34 to 26. Only in Yorkshire, where Labour gained a seat for a total of 24, and the West Midlands, constant at 11, did the party hold its own.

The composition of the Parliamentary Party also changed, in the direction of a return to 1922. Members sponsored by Divisional Labour Parties were fewer by 28.6 per cent; those of the Socialist Societies by 30.8 per cent. Members sponsored by trade unions, however, only diminished by 12.2 per cent; the hard core of the old Labour Party, the Miners' M.P.s, did even better, with a decline of 9.1 per cent. Labour's old strongholds stood firm; the new middle-class salient, opened in 1923, suffered severe losses.

Labourites surveying the wreckage found some comfort in an increase of 1,130,882 in the party's popular vote, even though the Tories had gained by over two and a third million. Most cheering of all, to Labour partisans, was the destruction of the Liberals, shorn of three-quarters of their Parliamentary

-264-

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The First Labour Government, 1924
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • I - The Labour Party, 1918-1923 1
  • Notes 16
  • II - The Election of 1923: the Conservatives 18
  • Notes 39
  • III - The Election of 1923: the Liberals Lloyd George and the Dragon 42
  • Notes 52
  • IV - The Election of 1923; Labour The Politics of Glorious Aspirations 53
  • Notes 67
  • V - Results of the Election of 1923 A House Divided 69
  • Notes 80
  • VI - The Path to Office 81
  • Notes 94
  • VII - Cabinet Making 96
  • Notes 107
  • VIII - Housing 110
  • Notes 129
  • IX - Unemployment The Intractable Million 131
  • Notes 154
  • X - The European Problem Year of Opportunity 157
  • Notes 181
  • XI - Russia Path of Most Resistance 184
  • Notes 207
  • XII - Labourites, Socialists and Reformers 210
  • Notes 227
  • XIII - Problems of Minority Government 230
  • Notes 245
  • XIV - The Election of 1924 Red Letter Day 248
  • Notes 262
  • XV - The Election of 1924 Dimensions of Defeat 264
  • Notes 271
  • XVI - Aftermath 272
  • Notes 281
  • Appendix A: the First Labour Ministry - (january 22 to November 4, 1924) 284
  • Appendix B: the Unsolved Mystery of The Zinoviev Letter 286
  • Notes 289
  • Bibliographical Note 290
  • Index 295
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