KINGDOM: Labour Party, 011
The Labour Party was one of the original parties in Janda's
1950-1962 ICPP study. The party continued throughout
1950-1990 in the Harmel-Janda study of party change.
essay on party politics in the United Kingdom from 1950
to 1962 says:
- The British Labour Party emerged from the role of
Loyal Opposition in 1964, when electoral success brought
a Labour government under Harold Wilson. Wilson's
government increased its majority in the 1966 elections
but was defeated in 1970. In February 1974, Labour won a
bare plurality and Wilson formed a minority government
until his party won a narrow majority of seats in the
October elections later that year. In 1976, James
Callaghan succeeded Wilson as party leader and thus
became prime minister in a Labour government. Losses in
by-elections reduced the Labour majority to one seat in
October 1976, and early in 1977 Labour entered an
agreement with the small Liberal Party for votes to
remain in office. Dependent upon such tenuous support,
Callaghan and Labour clung to government throughout 1978.
Defeated on a vote of confidence in March 1979, Labour
was forced to call an election and was defeated at the
polls in May.
essay on party politics in the United Kingdom from 1963
to 2000 says:
- The Labour Party led British government on three
occasions since 1963. In 1964, Harold Wilson became Prime
Minister when Labour won the 1964 elections with a slim
majority, but Labour lost to the Conservatives in 1970.
The Labour Party won the 1974 elections again by a narrow
margin, returning Harold Wilson as prime minister. But
splits in the party over membership in the European
Economic Community (which Wilson favored, but more
radicals members of his party and powerful unions
opposed) and a failing economy led to Wilson's
resignation in March of 1976, to be succeeded by James
Callaghan. During his term in office (April 1976 to May
1979), Callaghan had to negotiate agreements of support
from the small Liberal Party (that by then had thirteen
seats in Parliament) and even from the Welsh and Scottish
separatist members of Parliament.
Consult the index to
variables for annual scores of the party's issue
orientation, organizational complexity, centralization of
power, and coherence from 1950 through 1990.