David Shackleton

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David Shackleton in the mid-1900s

Sir David James Shackleton (1863 – 1938) was a cotton worker and trade unionist who became the third Labour Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, following the formation of the Labour Representation Committee. He later became a senior civil servant.

Shackleton was born in Cloughfold, Rawtenstall, Lancashire. He became a cotton worker at the age of nine. He rose through the ranks of the cotton weavers' union and became general secretary of the Textile Factory Workers Association.

Although the textile workers had not yet joined the LRC, Shackleton was appointed its candidate for the Clitheroe by-election in 1902. Philip Snowden, who had been considered by the Independent Labour Party, withdrew from the race. The Liberals and Conservatives also withdrew, sensing Shackleton's strong lead. He was thus elected unopposed. The textile workers' unions affiliated to the LRC shortly afterwards. Shackleton served as Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party for a period.

Shackleton became chairman of the Trades Union Congress in 1906, maintaining his powerful position in the trade union movement. In 1910, Winston Churchill invited him to join the civil service and Shackleton left Parliament. He quickly rose to the rank of Permanent Secretary in the new Ministry of Labour and is considered the first man from a working-class background to rise to such a senior position.

References[edit]

  • The Lancashire Giant: David Shackleton, Labour Leader and Civil Servant (2000), Ross M Martin, ISBN 0-85323-934-7

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth
Member of Parliament for Clitheroe
1902Dec 1910
Succeeded by
Albert Smith
Political offices
Preceded by
John Hodge
Chair of the Labour Party
1904–1905
Succeeded by
Arthur Henderson
Preceded by
Alfred Gill
President of the Trades Union Congress
1908 and 1909
Succeeded by
James Haslam