The Socialist Labour Party (SLP) is a small left-wing political party in the United Kingdom. According to accounts filed for the year of 2007 with the Electoral Commission, it had 3,020 members and 2,978 members through affiliates, making a total of 5,998. It had an income of about £19,400 and an expenditure of about £14,400
The SLP is led by former trade union leader Arthur Scargill, who formed it in 1996. The party was formed as a left-wing splinter in reaction to Tony Blair's re-positioning of the British Labour Party. The party advocates traditionally Socialist policies, such as state ownership of industry and high taxation to fund public services and initially attracted well known trade union figures such as Mick Rix and Bob Crow. Despite its declared reformism the SLP was initially entered by revolutionary groups such as the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), the Revolutionary Democratic Group, the Association of Communist Workers, the International Bolshevik Tendency and the Economic and Philosophic Science Review. Scargill's distrust of such organisations and dislike of Trotskyists resulted in expulsions described as the 'voiding' of membership. Scargill was initially more willing to work with organisations such as the Economic and Philosophic Science Review group and the Fourth International Supporters Caucus although both groups were later expelled.
At the 2001 general election the party took about 3% of the vote in seats it stood in. It did not contest the 2004 European Elections; its candidate for the Leicester South by-election gained less than 1% of the vote.
The party seems to be on the wane electorally, garnering fewer votes than it used to, although it did manage to get its highest percentage share in any individual parliamentary constituency at the 2005 general election when it took 14.2% of the votes cast in Glasgow North East. However, the absence of a Labour Party candidate in Glasgow North East (following the convention that the main parties do not stand against a sitting Speaker of the House of Commons) where Michael Martin was re-standing, was a probably a major factor in achieving 14.2% of the vote.
The SLP's difficulties have in part stemmed from a number of internal conflicts resulting in the resignation or expulsion of a number of leading members. Ideological conflict between those members seeking to develop a rigid Marxist-Leninist party and those committed to Scargill's original vision of a more leftist Labour Party grew more pronounced over time. This culminated in the expulsion of the pro-Stalin group around Harpal Brar who then formed the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). While the numbers in this group were relatively small they were among the most active members of the SLP, particular in its London-based youth group. Scargill himself has become more politically outspoken, defending Stalin.
At the Court of King Arthur; the Deborah Ross Interview ; the Founder of the Socialist Labour Party, and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hartlepool, on Hairspray, Cooking for One and the `Absolutely Bloody Dishy' Felicity Kendal
May 14, 2001; The thing about Arthur Scargill is that ever since he refused to sit the 11-plus at 10, he's been fighting, fighting, fighting....