Democratic Labour

From Academic Kids

Democratic Labour was a minor political party operating in the United Kingdom in the 1970s. They were formed by the Labour MP, Dick Taverne when his Constituency Labour Party (Lincoln) asked him to stand down as their candidate at the next general election. He had fallen out with them over Britain's continued membership of the European Economic Community which he supported but they did not.

Taverne resigned from Labour on October 6, 1972 and formed the Lincoln Democratic Labour Association which his supporters in the CLP joined. His initial ambitions were to eventually re-join the Labour Party, but there were some who attempted to persuade him to try and establish a new party of the political centre.

Taverne resigned from parliament at the same time he resigned from the Labour Party and he won the ensuing Lincoln by-election, held in March, 1973. His victory was aided by the lack of a Liberal candidate, as they decided instead to support his candidacy.

Shortly after his by-election victory, Taverne formed the Campaign for Social Democracy as a nationally based body. He continued to serve as Lincoln MP until the October, 1974 general election when he was defeated. He did not stand in the seat again, but Democratic Labour continued to organise politically, even managing to control Lincoln City Council from 1973 until 1979.

At the 1979 general election, Democratic Labour contested two seats, at Lincoln and in Brigg, and Scunthorpe. Taverne advised against nominating any candidates, but campaigned for them anyway. Both were unsuccessful in their attempts to gain seats in the House of Commons, with both candidates losing their deposits.

Shortly after the 1979 general election Democratic Labour ceased political activity, although a social club they established ran until 1987.

In many ways Democatic Labour can be seen as a premature forerunner of the Social Democratic Party which was formed by many of a similar viewpoint to Taverne who broke away from Labour in the early 1980s. Taverne himself twice stood as a Social Democratic Party candidate.

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