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An agreement was negotiated, under the terms of which the Labour Party accepted a limited number of Liberal Party policy proposals and in exchange, the Liberal Party agreed to vote with the government in any subsequent motion of no confidence.


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While this "pact" was the only official bi-party agreement since the Second World War until the Conservative—Lib Dem coalition following the election , it was far short of a coalition. The Lib—Lab Pact's end was confirmed on 7 September , [1] by which time Callaghan was expected to call a general election, but instead he decided to remain as leader of a minority government.

This government fell after a vote of no confidence was passed by one vote in March , whereby Callaghan was forced to hold a general election in May , in which Margaret Thatcher led the Conservatives into power.

Ashdown, a strong proponent of a Lib-Lab coalition, said that from Blair's point of view, in order to get the Conservatives out of power and because he wanted to move his party towards the New Labour ideal, a coalition would strengthen his majority in the likely event of a victory. To get the Liberal Democrats into his Cabinet, he allegedly agreed on their terms of electoral reform. Tony Blair was still considering attempting to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats on the day of the general election, until the full scale of his Labour Party's majority became clear.

After the hung parliament in , the Liberal Democrats, as they had indicated they would do so prior to the election, [3] first began negotiations with the Conservatives—the party that had won the most votes and seats—about the possibility of forming a government; but, after talks appeared to have stalled, complementary negotiations were undertaken with Labour. Press rumours of a possible Lib Dem-Labour deal were publicised, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown alleged to be willing to offer a referendum on the alternative vote system if an arrangement that would keep him in government could be agreed.

A Lib-Lab coalition would, however, have been eight seats short of a majority. On the collapse of talks with Labour, a deal between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party was reached subsequently being approved by Liberal Democrats members at a special party conference. There was a significant level of hostility to such a deal within the Labour party with coalition proposals being opposed by, among others, former cabinet ministers John Reid , Alan Johnson , David Blunkett and former leader Neil Kinnock.

David Laws , chief negotiator for the Liberal Democrats in coalition negotiations, subsequently commented on Labour's preparation and conduct in negotiations; his main areas of criticism centred on Labour's lack of contrition about their record over the previous 13 years, inadequate preparation for discussions, their unwillingness to accommodate Liberal Democrat policy proposals in the potential programme for government, and the arrogant and patronising attitude of specific key Labour figures.

The History of the Labour Party

He said that whilst he felt Gordon Brown was quite serious about pursuing talks, he believed former minister Ed Balls was deliberately "sabotaging" them. Nick Clegg stated his opinion prior to the election that the party which wins the most seats but fails to get an absolute majority in the house has the right to attempt to form a government first, either on their own or in a coalition. According to an article in The Daily Telegraph , a shadow Cabinet minister who was close to Miliband said: "Our activists really hate Clegg.

But if having him as Deputy Prime Minister was the price of getting Ed into Number 10 then they would have to stick it. A senior party figure [ who? However, neither a coalition nor a pact between the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party was necessary, following the surprise victory of the Conservatives in the General Election and the loss of 49 Liberal Democrat seats. When the first elections to the new Welsh Assembly took place in no one party had an absolute majority, and initially Labour sought to run a minority administration.

Following a series of close votes and much criticism of the weakness of the Assembly administration, Labour and the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition in October with the two parties sharing power, including ministerial appointments, with Labour the majority party. On 11 May , following the election six days earlier, when the governing Labour Party had 29 AMs elected, one fewer than in and two short of an overall majority, Welsh Assembly members failed to elect a new First Minister on their return to the Senedd , after the roll-call tied the vote at ; Plaid Cymru nominated its leader Leanne Wood , and won the backing of the Conservatives and UKIP , while Labour's incumbent First Minister Carwyn Jones won the support of sole Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams , the only non-Labour member to back Mr Jones in the tied vote for First Minister and who, up until the day after the election, had previously been the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats , and his own party.

After the first general election to the reconvened Scottish Parliament in , the Scottish Liberal Democrats signed up to what was termed a "partnership government" with Labour , with both parties providing ministers in a shared government. In part this led to the Scottish and Welsh alliances noted above. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Liberal-Labour UK. Main article: Gladstone-MacDonald pact. Liberalism portal Socialism portal.

K. Theakston

BBC News. BBC News Online. Retrieved The Independent. The Guardian. May 10, The Telegraph.

The Times. Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 December National Assembly For Wales. Wales Online.


  • The History of the Labour Party | History Today.
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  • Retrieved 3 July Lib Dem Voice. Brown stepped down as leader of the party and on May 11 tendered his resignation as prime minister. At the Labour Party conference in September , Ed Miliband , with strong union support, edged out his elder brother, David Miliband , the front-runner, to become party leader. Labour rebounded mightily in the local elections, gaining more than seats in England, Scotland, and Wales, mostly at the expense of the Conservatives, and gained seven seats in the election for the European Parliament in May , edging out the Conservatives for second place but finishing behind the United Kingdom Independence Party.

    In the run-up to the general election in May , polling data suggested that Labour and the Conservatives were in a virtual dead heat, but the actual result was a Conservative rout. Miliband resigned as party leader the following day. In September Jeremy Corbyn , a left-leaning longtime backbencher, was the surprising victor of the leadership contest in which he captured nearly 60 percent of the more than , votes cast by rank-and-file supporters.

    The May elections for local governments in England and the national assemblies for Northern Ireland , Scotland, and Wales were a mixed blessing for a Labour Party that had been stung in the lead-up to the voting by accusations that some of its members had made anti-Semitic remarks at least two members, including former London mayor Ken Livingstone , were suspended from the party in connection with the accusations. Although the party generally held serve in overall terms in council elections in England losing control of only a clutch of local governments , its fortunes in Scotland continued to ebb as its representation in the Scottish Parliament fell from 37 seats to 24, fewer seats even than the Conservatives.

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    It remained the largest presence in the Welsh National Assembly but, in losing seats, was forced to form a minority government. By far the best news for the party was the triumph of Labour candidate Sadiq Khan in the London mayoral race. Khan became the first Muslim to be mayor of a Western capital. Corbyn rebuffed these overtures, and on June 23, , when 52 percent of British voters chose to leave the EU, the result triggered a leadership crisis within Labour.

    Meanwhile, Momentum, a grassroots organization of Corbyn supporters, rallied around the embattled party leader. Corbyn ultimately triumphed in the leadership battle that followed, soundly defeating former shadow secretary for work and pensions Owen Smith in the final vote in late September.

    Having survived that challenge, Corbyn led the party into the snap general election called by Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May for June Proving himself to be an inspiring campaigner, he steered the Labour Party to a dramatic gain of 30 seats, bringing its total representation in Westminster to seats.

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    Thank you for your feedback. Introduction History Policy and structure. Written By: Paul David Webb. Alternative Title: Labour Representation Committee. History The Labour Party was born at the turn of the 20th century out of the frustration of working-class people at their inability to field parliamentary candidates through the Liberal Party , which at that time was the dominant social-reform party in Britain. Start Your Free Trial Today.