Belfast Labour Party

The Belfast Labour Party was a political party in Belfast, Ireland from 1892 until 1924.

Belfast Labour Party
LeaderDavid Robb Campbell (1920 – 1924)
Merged intoNorthern Ireland Labour Party
Trade unionism
British unionism
Political positionLeft-wing

It was founded in 1892 by a conference of Belfast Independent Labour activists and trade unionists.[1]

Labour ran the Unionist Party close in Belfast North in a by-election in 1905 and in the general election of 1906 with William Walker as its candidate.[2][3]

The party won 12 seats on Belfast Corporation in 1920, but later lost these.[4] Suffragette, Independent Labour and Co-operative activist Margaret McCoubrey in 1920 was elected a Labour councillor for the Dock ward of Belfast.[5] Nonetheless, the party came a very close second in Belfast West in the 1923 UK general election before merging with others to become the Northern Ireland Labour Party.


Position on Partition & United IrelandEdit

The party found it difficult to sidestep the issue of partition between 1920 and 1922, when the topic pervaded political life in Ireland. In its desire to avoid division over the subject, the party did not directly contest the 1921 Northern Irish election, instead supporting 4 independent candidates.[6]

The party's attempt to tip-toe the national question was shown in the campaign run by Harry Midgley in 1924 in the constituency of Belfast West. In the Protestant Belfast ward of Shankhill Midgley emphasized his Protestantism and his military service in the British army during World War One. In contrast, in the Catholic Falls area he attacked the policy of internment of prisoners and showed support for the idea of a United Ireland.[6]


  1. ^ Barberis, Peter; McHugh, John; Tyldesley, Mike (2000). Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations: Parties, Groups and Movements of the 20th Century. p. 694.
  2. ^ "Westminster Elections in the future Northern Ireland, 1885-1910 by Nicholas Whyte". Archived from the original on 3 April 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  3. ^ "Sectarian Divisions of Ulster Labor Politics 1885-1906 by Wade Shen". Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  4. ^ Budge, Ian; O'Leary, Cornelius (5 February 2016). Belfast: Approach to Crisis: A Study of Belfast Politics 1613–1970. Springer. ISBN 978-1-349-00126-2.
  5. ^ McCoubrey, Margaret 1880-1955 Dictionary of Ulster Biography Archived 2008-03-19 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b Ferriter, Diarmaid (2010). The Transformation Of Ireland 1900-2000. Profile Books. pp. 287–288. ISBN 978-1847650818. Archived from the original on 30 July 2021. Retrieved 23 September 2021.