Political Aftermath

  • John Shepherd
  • Keith Laybourn


On 29 October, despite polling an additional million votes, Labour suffered a decisive defeat in the general election that took Stanley Baldwin, not Ramsay MacDonald, back to 10 Downing Street. Philip Snowden admitted to Fred Jowett, the only Cabinet minister to lose his seat, ‘I am terribly distressed at the whole business of this General Election. I get no satisfaction from the increased Labour vote.’ Snowden added later that MacDonald had ‘thrown away the greatest opportunity whichever came to a party and has landed us with five years of Tory government.1 Ethel Snowden, away on a Canadian lecture tour, attracted the attention of the British press when she confirmed her husband’s disenchantment with MacDonald: ‘The British Labour Party has been the victim of the worst leadership of modern times,’ she told her audience in Winnipeg.2


Trade Union Party Leader Labour Government Labour Party Liberal Party 
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  1. 1.
    Philip Snowden to Fred Jowett, 31 October, 18 November 1924, cited in Fenner Brockway, Socialism over Sixty Years: The Life of Jowett of Bradford (1864–1944) (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1946), pp. 222–3, 410:Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Colin Cross, Philip Snowden (London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1966), p. 213.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Thomas Jones, Whitehall Diary, ed. Keith Middlemas (London: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. 298–9.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ibid., pp. 299–300; David Marquand, Ramsay MacDonald, (London: Jonathan Cape, 1977).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    ‘The Fall of the Labour Government’, Beatrice Webbs Diaries, 1924–1932 (London: Longman, 1956), p. 5O.,Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts, 1885–1975 (London: Macmillan, 1976), pp. 13–14; for slightly different figures, see Labour Party Conference Report, 1925 (London: Labour Party, 1925), p. 305, which provides a complete breakdown of the general election result, mainly from the Labour perspective.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    David Dutton, A History of the Liberal Party in the Twentieth Century (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), p. 102.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Jack Reynolds and Keith Laybourn, Labour Heartland: A History of the Labour Party in West Yorkshire During the Inter-War Years, 1918–1939 (Bradford: University of Bradford Press, 1987), pp. 33–64.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Michael Kinnear, The British Voter: An Atlas and Survey since 1885, 2nd edn (London: Batsford, 1981), p. 112.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    John Charmley, A History of Conservative Politics, 1900–1995 (Basingstoke: Macmillan — now Palgrave Macmillan, 1998), pp. 74–5.Google Scholar
  11. 22.
    David Howell, MacDonalds Party: Labour Identities and Crisis, 1922–1931 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 89.Google Scholar
  12. 26.
    D. Howell, MacDonalds Party: Labour Identities and Crisis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 34, also referring to a letter from T. E. Naylor to MacDonald, 5 December 1924, enclosing a copy of the Westminster Gazette report, MacDonald Papers,PRO 30/69/117O.,Google Scholar
  13. 37.
    Philip Snowden, An Autobiography (London: Ivor Nicholson & Watson, 1934), vol. 2, p. 573.Google Scholar
  14. 48.
    J. Klugmann, History of the Communist Party of Great Britain: Formation and Early Years, vol. 1, 1919–1924 (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1968), pp. 166–181 traces in great detail the moves by the CPGB to achieve affiliation.Google Scholar
  15. 53.
    Keith Laybourn and Dylan Murphy, Under the Red Flag (Stroud: Sutton, 1999), pp. 50–74.Google Scholar
  16. 54.
    MacDonald Papers, John Rylands Library, RMD 1/5/13.Google Scholar
  17. 55.
    Laybourn and Murphy, Under the Red Flag, pp. 88, 99–10O.,Google Scholar
  18. 56.
    WorkersBulletin, 13 May 1926. Also see Keith Laybourn, The General Strike of 1926 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993); and Keith Laybourn, The General Strike: Day by Day (Stroud: Sutton, 1996).Google Scholar

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© John Shepherd and Keith Laybourn 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Shepherd
  • Keith Laybourn

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