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Robert Blake and Wm. Roger Louis

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206262

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206262.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021

Churchill and the Labour Movement

Churchill and the Labour Movement

(p.113) 7 Churchill and the Labour Movement

Henry Pelling

Oxford University Press

Winston Churchill's long career in politics coincided almost precisely with the first sixty-five years of the existence of the Labour Party. His supposed role in the Tonypandy riots in 1910, his vigorous assault upon the General Strike of 1926, and his warning in 1945 that the Labour leadership might ‘have to fall back on some form of Gestapo’ all contribute to an impression that Churchill was hardly friendly towards Labour. As Undersecretary for the Colonies, Churchill had little contact with the labour movement, although the Labour Party was an ally of the government, and the Liberal Party also contained a number of so-called ‘Lib-Labs’. When Churchill was promoted to the post of President of the Board of Trade, he took over legislation to establish trade boards, later known as wages councils, to fix wages in the so-called ‘sweated trades’ in which it had proved impossible to establish trade unions. Churchill established a reputation as being opposed to socialism, which he regarded as an enemy of good government.

Keywords:   Winston Churchill, labour movement, trade unions, Labour Party, Liberal Party, Tonypandy riots, trade boards, wages, socialism

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