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Irving in 1908

David Daniel Irving (31 October 1854 – 25 January 1924) was a British socialist activist and Labour Party Member of Parliament. Born in Birmingham, Irving moved to Bristol in 1875, where he began working on the railways. After he lost his leg in an industrial accident, the Midland Railway forced him to take a pay cut. Angered by this injustice, he joined the Bristol Socialist Society and became an activist in a gasworkers' union, which soon merged into the National Union of Gas Workers and General Labourers.

In 1892, Irving worked with Herbert V. Mills in an attempt to start a utopian socialist community at Starnthwaite, but this soon disintegrated, and Irving eventually won a legal case against Mills. Instead, he became a socialist lecturer, and then in 1894, secretary of the Burnley branch of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF).

Burnley was one of the SDF's most important branches, and Irving kept its profile high. In the 1906 general election, SDF leader H. M. Hyndman stood in the Burnley constituency, and came within 350 votes of winning the seat. In 1902, Irving was elected to Burnley Town Council, a post he held (with one gap) until 1922.

In the 1906 election, Irving himself stood for Accrington; he then stood in the 1908 Manchester North West by-election, and in the January and December 1910 general elections he stood in Rochdale. While his votes varied considerably, as an SDF candidate he never came close to winning a seat.

In 1911, Irving followed the SDF into the formation of the British Socialist Party. In 1914, he was a supporter of British action in World War I, and as a result, when the SDF split on the issue, he joined Hyndman's new group, the National Socialist Party. This group affiliated to the Labour Party, and as a Labour candidate he was finally able to win a Parliamentary seat, taking Burnley in the 1918 general election. He held the seat in 1922 and 1923, but remained a low-profile MP and died in 1924 aged 69.


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Philip Morrell
Member of Parliament for Burnley
Succeeded by
Arthur Henderson
Party political offices
Preceded by
Will Thorne
President of the Social Democratic Federation
Succeeded by
F. J. Jones
Preceded by
H. M. Hyndman
President of the British Socialist Party
Succeeded by
John Stokes