Independent Socialist Party (UK)

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Independent Socialist Party
Chairman Elijah Sandham, E. Stevenson
General Secretary Tom Abbott
Founded 1934
Dissolved 1950s
Newspaper Labour's Northern Voice
Ideology Socialism,
Democratic socialism,
Social democracy
Political position Left-wing

The Independent Socialist Party (ISP) was a political party in the UK. It was formed in 1934 as a breakway from the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in protest at the increasing power of the Revolutionary Policy Committee within the ILP.

The ISP was led by Elijah Sandham, a former ILP MP who had been Chairman of the Lancashire Division of the ILP, and Tom Abbott, former Lancashire organiser for the party. The Lancashire ILP newspaper Labour's Northern Voice also supported the ISP. Outside Lancashire, the ISP was supported by the literary critic John Middleton Murry and his Adelphi magazine - and a small ISP based community was founded around his East Anglian home to show socialism as a living entity.

The ISP was socialist and resolutely anti-war, but was firmly anti-communist.

It failed to gain substantial support after its formation. Several branches rejoined the ILP during World War II,[1] and, following the death of its founders in the 1950s, the party wound itself up.


Gidon Cohen (2003) The Independent Socialist Party in Gildart, Howell and Kirk (eds) Dictionary of Labour Biography

  1. ^ "Article 1", Manchester Guardian, 9 January 1945, p.6