Labour and the municipality : Labour politics in Leeds 1900-1914
This thesis examines the emergence of the Labour Party in Leeds, from its establishment as the Leeds Labour Representation Committee in 1902 up to the outbreak of the First World War. This will include a description and analysis of the very different political features of the Labour Party in Leeds in the parliamentary and municipal elections in this period. While only able to have elected one member of parliament before 1914, the Labour Party was to obtain a presence on the City Council in 1903 and by 1914 became the second largest party. The success of the Labour Party in municipal politics was due to the willingness of most trade unions in Leeds to join with the Independent Labour Party in giving it political and financial support. This was achieved by the Party's advocacy of municipal government as a vehicle of social reform. In particular, they argued in favour of using the trading profits of municipally owned services for the financing of these reforms. A powerful voice in the Leeds Labour Party was provided by the unions organising municipal workers. As a result, the Labour group was to act as their defenders on the City Council in the face of a hostile Conservative-Liberal majority. However, the Party in Leeds was to establish a broad base of support from the trade union and socialist movements in the city, which enabled it to survive relatively unscathed the defeat of a general strike of municipal workers in 1913 and 1914.