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National Democratic and Labour Party

The National Democratic and Labour Party, usually abbreviated to National Democratic Party (NDP), was a short-lived political party in the United Kingdom.

National Democratic and Labour Party
LeaderGeorge Barnes
Preceded byBritish Workers League
Merged intoNational Liberal Party
IdeologyBritish nationalism
Right-wing socialism


The party's origins lay in a split by the right wing of the British Socialist Party, primarily over issues raised by the First World War. In 1915, Victor Fisher formed the Socialist National Defence Committee[1] along with Alexander M. Thompson and Robert Blatchford. They supported "the eternal idea of nationality" and aimed to promote "socialist measures in the war effort".[2] The Committee was supported by John Hodge, George Henry Roberts, and for a time by Henry Hyndman who subsequently formed his own party, the National Socialist Party.

In 1916, this committee formed the British Workers League. It described itself as a "patriotic labour" group, and focused on support for the war and the British Empire and opposition to Little Englander and Cobdenite laissez-faire economics.[3] The League was subsidised by Lord Milner,[4] who consulted with Fisher during the war.[5] The League was supported by Labour MPs such as James O'Grady, Stephen Walsh and William Abraham.[6]

The League sought to challenge pacificist Parliamentary candidates; this caused a rupture with the Labour Party. Eleven out of thirty-eight of the Labour Parliamentary MPs showed support for the British Workers League; however, many later returned to the Labour Party.[7]

The British Workers League reconstituted itself in 1918 as the National Democratic and Labour Party, with the support of George Barnes, MP for Glasgow Blackfriars and Hutchesontown, when he resigned from the Labour Party. The group gained the support of the Musicians' Union and parts of other unions, including some sections of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain. It was primarily funded by Lloyd George Coalition Liberals.

The party fielded twenty-eight candidates in the 1918 general election—twenty of them on the Coalition Coupon—and won ten seats,[7][8] including Barnes in the Glasgow Gorbals constituency. Barnes was a member of the coalition government's cabinet until 1920.

Barnes retired from Parliament in 1922, and the group's remaining MPs joined the National Liberal Party. The party was wound up in 1923, but a grouping continued as the Empire Citizen League[8] until the late 1920s. Victor Fisher stood, unsuccessfully, for the Conservative Party.[9]

Election resultsEdit

1918 UK general electionEdit

Constituency Candidate Votes Percentage Position[10]
Aberdare Charles Stanton 22,824 78.6 1
Accrington William Hammond 738 2.5 4
Birmingham Duddeston Eldred Hallas 8,796 79.4 1
Bradford East Charles Edgar Loseby 9,390 41.1 1
Broxtowe H. H. Whaite 4,374 21.6 3
Consett Robert Gee 7,283 32.9 2
Derby Harold M. Smith 13,012 19.6 4
Don Valley James Walton 6,095 46.2 1
Dumbarton Burghs John Taylor 11,734 52.6 1
East Ham South Clement Edwards 7,972 42.8 1
Edinburgh East Alexander E. Balfour 5,136 37.8 2
Hamilton David Gilmour 4,297 25.9 3
Stoke-on-Trent Hanley James Seddon 8,032 40.4 1
Houghton-le-Spring John Lindsley 6,185 30.7 3
Leicester West Joseph Frederick Green 20,150 76.0 1
Mansfield George Jarrett 6,678 32.6 2
Nuneaton William Henry Dyson 1,101 4.5 4
Paisley John Taylor 7,201 32.5 3
Rochdale John Joseph Terrett 2,358 7.8 4
Rotherham Edmund Smith Bardsley 564 2.2 4
Rother Valley Ernest George Bearcroft 4,894 27.2 2
Stourbridge Victor Fisher 6,690 28.8 3
Tottenham South Albert Ernest Harvey 1,916 12.3 3
Wallsend Matt Simm 10,246 50.9 1
Wolverhampton East James A. Shaw 7,138 48.2 2
Walthamstow West Charles Jesson 7,330 51.6 1

Some prominent members such as George Barnes were elected as Coalition Labour. Taylor ran as a joint NDP-Liberal candidate, and sat as a Coalition Liberal MP after election.

By-elections, 1918-1922Edit

Election Candidate Votes Percentage Position[10]
1919 Chester-le-Street by-election David Gilmour 5,313 22.9 2
1920 Louth by-election Christopher Hatton Turnor 7,354 42.7 2

Turnour ran as a joint NDP-Conservative candidate.


  1. ^ Martin Crick, The History of the Social-Democratic Federation (Keele University Press, 1994) p. 271.
  2. ^ John Callaghan, Socialism in Britain (1990), p. 74.
  3. ^ Martin Pugh, Speak for Britain! A New History of the Labour Party (The Bodley Head, 2010), p. 115.
  4. ^ Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldesley entry on British Workers League Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005), p. 274.
  5. ^ J. Lee Thompson, Forgotten Patriot: A Life of Alfred, Viscount Milner of St. James's and Cape Town (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press), p. 320.
  6. ^ Pugh, p. 115.
  7. ^ a b Pugh, p. 116.
  8. ^ a b Barberis, McHugh and Tyldesley, p. 274.
  9. ^ Crick, p. 304.
  10. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S. (1975). Minor Parties in British By-elections, 1885-1974. London: Macmillan Press. pp. 53–54.


  • David Butler and Gareth Butler, British Political Facts 7th Ed, 1900-1994