National Democratic and Labour Party

The National Democratic and Labour Party, usually abbreviated to National Democratic Party (NDP), was a short-lived political party in the United Kingdom.

National Democratic and Labour Party
LeaderGeorge Barnes
Preceded byBritish Workers League
Merged intoNational Liberal Party
IdeologyBritish nationalism
Paternalistic conservatism


The party's origins lay in a split by the right wing of the British Socialist Party, primarily over issues raised by the First World War. In 1915, Victor Fisher formed the Socialist National Defence Committee[1] along with Alexander M. Thompson and Robert Blatchford. They supported "the eternal idea of nationality" and aimed to promote "socialist measures in the war effort".[2] The Committee was supported by John Hodge, George Henry Roberts, and for a time by Henry Hyndman who subsequently formed his own party, the National Socialist Party.

In 1916, this committee formed the British Workers League. It described itself as a "patriotic labour" group, and focused on support for the war and the British Empire and opposition to Little Englander and Cobdenite laissez-faire economics.[3] The League was subsidised by Lord Milner,[4] who consulted with Fisher during the war.[5] The League was supported by Labour MPs such as James O'Grady, Stephen Walsh and William Abraham.[6]

The League sought to challenge pacificist Parliamentary candidates; this caused a rupture with the Labour Party. Eleven out of thirty-eight of the Labour Parliamentary MPs showed support for the British Workers League; however, many later returned to the Labour Party.[7]

The British Workers League reconstituted itself in 1918 as the National Democratic and Labour Party, with the support of George Barnes, MP for Glasgow Blackfriars and Hutchesontown, when he resigned from the Labour Party. The group gained the support of the Musicians' Union and parts of other unions, including some sections of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain. It was primarily funded by Lloyd George Coalition Liberals.

The party fielded twenty-eight candidates in the 1918 general election—twenty of them on the Coalition Coupon—and won ten seats,.[7][8] Barnes was re-elected in the Glasgow Gorbals constituency as the allied but separate Coalition Labour parliamentary grouping. Barnes was a member of the coalition government's cabinet until 1920. He retired from retired from Parliament in 1922.

The National Democratic and Labour' remaining MPs joined the National Liberal Party and stood under that label in the 1922 general election. The National Democratic and Labour party was wound up in 1923, but a grouping continued as the Empire Citizen League[8] until the late 1920s. Victor Fisher stood, unsuccessfully, for the Conservative Party.[9]

Election results

1918 UK general election

AberdareCharles Stanton22,82478.61
AccringtonWilliam Hammond7382.54
Birmingham DuddestonEldred Hallas8,79679.41
Bradford EastCharles Edgar Loseby9,39041.11
BroxtoweH. H. Whaite4,37421.63
ConsettRobert Gee7,28332.92
DerbyHarold M. Smith13,01219.64
Don ValleyJames Walton6,09546.21
Dumbarton BurghsJohn Taylor11,73452.61
East Ham SouthClement Edwards7,97242.81
Edinburgh EastAlexander E. Balfour5,13637.82
HamiltonDavid Gilmour4,29725.93
Stoke-on-Trent HanleyJames Seddon8,03240.41
Houghton-le-SpringJohn Lindsley6,18530.73
Leicester WestJoseph Frederick Green20,15076.01
MansfieldGeorge Jarrett6,67832.62
NuneatonWilliam Henry Dyson1,1014.54
PaisleyJohn Taylor7,20132.53
RochdaleJohn Joseph Terrett2,3587.84
RotherhamEdmund Smith Bardsley5642.24
Rother ValleyErnest George Bearcroft4,89427.22
StourbridgeVictor Fisher6,69028.83
Tottenham SouthAlbert Ernest Harvey1,91612.33
WallsendMatt Simm10,24650.91
Wolverhampton EastJames A. Shaw7,13848.22
Walthamstow WestCharles Jesson7,33051.61

Some prominent members such as George Barnes were elected as Coalition Labour. Taylor ran as a joint NDP-Liberal candidate, and sat as a Coalition Liberal MP after election.

By-elections, 1918-1922

1919 Chester-le-Street by-electionDavid Gilmour5,31322.92
1920 Louth by-electionChristopher Hatton Turnor7,35442.72

Turnour ran as a joint NDP-Conservative candidate.


  1. Martin Crick, The History of the Social-Democratic Federation (Keele University Press, 1994) p. 271.
  2. John Callaghan, Socialism in Britain (1990), p. 74.
  3. Martin Pugh, Speak for Britain! A New History of the Labour Party (The Bodley Head, 2010), p. 115.
  4. Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldesley entry on British Workers League Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005), p. 274.
  5. J. Lee Thompson, Forgotten Patriot: A Life of Alfred, Viscount Milner of St. James's and Cape Town (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press), p. 320.
  6. Pugh, p. 115.
  7. Pugh, p. 116.
  8. Barberis, McHugh and Tyldesley, p. 274.
  9. Crick, p. 304.
  10. Craig, F. W. S. (1975). Minor Parties in British By-elections, 1885-1974. London: Macmillan Press. pp. 53–54.


  • David Butler and Gareth Butler, British Political Facts 7th Ed, 1900-1994