The Political Background 1888–1919

  • G. W. Jones


IN 1900 the forty-eight members of the Wolverhampton Town Council, except the four Labour Councillors, called themselves Independents. They did not owe their seats to the support of any national or local political party.1 Nor inside the Council did they vote together in permanent groups. Their election addresses rarely mentioned their national party allegiances. Newspaper reports of nominations for Council seats gave more prominence to the candidates’ occupations, religion and places of residence than to their national party loyalties. Councillors and candidates agreed that national political parties were inappropriate in municipal affairs, since their purpose was to gain and sustain support for a Member of Parliament and not to promote municipal candidates and to advocate and implement policies for the town. There were, therefore, strictly no Conservative nor Liberal members of the Council and no Conservative nor Liberal municipal policies. Even the Labour members represented only in a vague way the working classes and in particular some local trades unions; there was as yet no national Labour Party. Municipal and Parliamentary affairs were separate.


Labour Party Radical Liberal Liberal Party Conservative Party Town Council 
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  1. Fowler was M.P. 1880–1908 and Hickman 1885–6, 1892–1906. For Fowler see E. H. Fowler, The Life of Henry Hartley Fowler, London, 1912.Google Scholar

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© G. W. Jones 1969

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  • G. W. Jones

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