Labour in Crisis: Clement Attlee and the Labour Party in by John Swift

By John Swift

This is a learn of the advance of Clement Attlee and the Labour celebration from the cave in of the second one Labour govt in August 1931, to their access into Churchill's coalition in may well 1940. it truly is an exam of ways Labour turned necessary to the powerful prosecution of the battle, and the way Attlee emerged from relative obscurity to turn into a crucial determine within the warfare Cabinet.

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Extra info for Labour in Crisis: Clement Attlee and the Labour Party in Opposition, 1931–40

Example text

An inquiry into the working of these reforms, with a view towards a further instalment towards responsible self-government, was promised for 1929. The Conservative Government, in fact, appointed the Simon Commission, of which Attlee was a member, in 1927, to forestall the India and Imperial Affairs, 1931–5 41 possibility of a Labour Government conducting this inquiry. The Commission found that dyarchy, without the support of nationalists, had failed to work, and therefore concluded that in British India there should be an extension of provincial self-government, in which dyarchy would lapse.

The PLP certainly lacked debaters capable of discussing the issues raised by the slump. The main load fell on Attlee: he filled more space in Hansard in 1932 than anybody else. This is not to say that he had no support whatever. Trades union MPs, such as Thomas Cape and Tom Smith, for example, could talk on the industries whose interests they represented, respectively the cotton industry and coal mining. Back-benchers could also speak on the problems of their own constituencies. The real weakness was in front-bench speakers.

36 This proved to be an effective debating technique, which Attlee used regularly. Thus, when the government proposed a subsidy to allow Cunard to complete two liners, Attlee called upon MPs ‘in all parts of the House . . to urge upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer that now is the time to embark on a policy of public works . . 38 The question of public works indicates the alternative stance adopted by Labour when criticizing government policy. While the internal policy debate was in progress in the Labour Party, the ideas of underconsumption proved to be adequate for a PLP which was unlikely actually to influence government policy to any significant extent.

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