In 1900 several socialist groups came together with the aim of promoting the representation of working class people in parliament. They called themselves the Labour Representation Committee (LRC).The groups came from within the labour movement and included the Independent Labour Party, various trade unions, the Fabian Society and the Social Democratic Federation. This created, in Keir Hardie’s own words, ‘a distinct Labour group in Parliament, who shall have their own whips, and agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to cooperate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour.’
At the 1906 election, the LRC won 29 seats and during their first meeting on 12 February 1906 the MPs decided to call themselves the Labour Party; these are the minutes from that first meeting.
The first group of 29 Labour MPs wanted pensions, women’s suffrage and school meals. While we consider these things normal, the Labour Party was at the time pioneering new politics with these policies. Many of the policies that the party wanted to enact are still debated today.
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