National_Labour_Party_(UK)

National Labour Party (UK)

The National Labour Party was a group founded around the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald after he was expelled from the Labour Party in September 1931. It contested the 1931 election and the 1935 election, and was viewed by the mainstream Labour Party as "traitors". MacDonald remained Prime Minister as the head of a coalition government until June 1935 and was regarded as the party leader until his death in late 1937. It was then led by his son Malcolm MacDonald who had also been expelled from the Labour Party in 1931 and by then included the former diplomat turned writer Harold Nicolson, who had been elected as a National Labour MP in 1935.

Despite their limited numbers, (they numbered only 8 MPs following the 1935 General Election), National Labour retained cabinet rank offices in the Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain governments until 1941, when Malcolm MacDonald moved from the office of Minister of Health to become a Minister resident in Canada for the remainder of the Second World War. He was able to retain his seat in the House of Commons and it was presumed he would return to government again.

Just before the 1945 election the National Labour party formally dissolved and its remaining MPs either retired from Parliament, stood as "National" supporters of the continuation of the National Government (better known as Winston Churchill's "Caretaker Government") or stood as independents. Only one was subsequently elected under that label. Malcolm MacDonald retired from active politics, though another former National Labour cabinet minister, Earl De La Warr, returned to ministerial office in the 1951-1955 Conservative government of Winston Churchill.

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