National Socialist Party (UK)

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National Socialist Party
Secretary Tom Kennedy
Founded 1916
Dissolved 1941
Preceded by British Socialist Party
Merged into Labour Party
Newspaper Justice
Ideology Social democracy
Political position Centre-left

The National Socialist Party was a small political party in the United Kingdom, founded in 1916. It originated as a minority group within the British Socialist Party who supported British participation in World War I; while historically linked with the Marxist left, the party grew more moderate. It affiliated to the Labour Party and was eventually absorbed by it.

Origins[edit]

The National Socialist Party was founded by Henry M. Hyndman and his followers after his defeat in the leadership elections of the British Socialist Party. They believed that it was desirable to support the United Kingdom in World War I against "Prussian militarism". Although maintaining that they were a Marxist party, after affiliation to the Labour Party in 1918, they renounced vanguardism and saw in the Russian Revolution only the danger that it might weaken the United Kingdom's war effort. The party was grouped around the newspaper Justice.

Three members of the party were elected to Parliament in the 1918 election; Dan Irving and Will Thorne were elected for the Labour Party, and Jack Jones under the National Socialist Party name.[1]

Social Democratic Federation[edit]

In 1919, the group changed its name to the Social Democratic Federation, reverting to the name that the British Socialist Party had used. At one point eleven MPs were members, but after the death of Hyndman in 1921, the group gradually dissolved into the Labour Party.[2] The party sponsored several candidates at each election until 1924, all of whom ran for Labour. After 1924, its MPs were instead sponsored by their local Labour Party.[3] The party finally disbanded in 1939 due to a lack of funds, although some remaining members formed a "Social Democratic Fellowship".[4]

Other notable members included Henry W. Lee, Hunter Watts, John Stokes and Joseph Burgess.[1]

Election results[edit]

1918 UK general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes Percentage Position[5]
Burnley Irving, DanDan Irving 15,217 41.9 1
Reading Quelch, LorenzoLorenzo Quelch 1,462 5.2 4
Romford Whiting, ArthurArthur Whiting 2,580 14.4 3
Silvertown Jones, John JosephJohn Joseph Jones 6,971 51.6 1

By-elections, 1918-1922[edit]

Election Candidate Votes Percentage Position
Kirkcaldy Burghs by-election, 1921 Kennedy, TomTom Kennedy 11,674 53.4 1

1922 UK general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes Percentage Position
Burnley Irving, DanDan Irving 17,385 39.1 1
Kirkcaldy Burghs Kennedy, TomTom Kennedy 12,089 48.6 2

1923 UK general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes Percentage Position
Buckingham Pay, Edward J.Edward J. Pay 11,824 47.0 2
Burnley Irving, DanDan Irving 16,848 37.8 1
Islington South Cluse, William SampsonWilliam Sampson Cluse 7,764 37.0 1
Islington West Montague, FrederickFrederick Montague 7,955 41.4 1
Kirkcaldy Burghs Kennedy, TomTom Kennedy 14,221 54.4 1

1924 UK general election[edit]

Election Candidate Votes Percentage Position
Buckingham Pay, Edward J.Edward J. Pay 8,939 30.6 2
Islington South Cluse, William SampsonWilliam Sampson Cluse 10,347 42.8 1
Islington West Montague, FrederickFrederick Montague 10,174 45.3 1
Kirkcaldy Burghs Kennedy, TomTom Kennedy 14,038 52.7 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Max Beer, A History of British Socialism
  2. ^ Peter Barberis, John McHugh and Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations
  3. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1975). Minor Parties in British By-elections, 1885-1974. London: Macmillan Press. pp. 104–105. 
  4. ^ "End of the S.D.F.", Manchester Guardian, 2 November 1939, p.3
  5. ^ Martin Crick, The History of the Social-Democratic Federation, p.332