The Labour Group

  • G. W. Jones


ALEADING contribution of the Labour Party to local government in Wolverhampton was the ‘Group’; that is, the meeting of those members of the Council belonging to one party, held before the Council meeting in order to concert the action of party members in the Council. In the 1950s and 1960s both Conservative and Labour Parties held such meetings. But at the turn of the century no such institution existed. Liberals and Conservatives did not vote as party blocks, save on sectarian issues. Normally on each debate there was a fresh coalition for or against; alignments of the Councillors were in a continual state of flux. The Labour representatives, however, from their earliest days tried to act as a block, if not on all issues, at least on matters affecting Labour. The Labour Party tried many institutional devices to ensure unity of action by Labour Councillors, and they worked smoothly until the 1920s, when the party was rocked by recurring conflicts between some of its Councillors and a majority of the party. Only in the 1930s did peace return on the adoption of the Labour Party’s model Standing Orders governing the relations between Labour Groups and the party outside the Council. However, not until 1945 was the Labour Group put on a regular and formal basis; before, it had met infrequently.


Group Meeting Executive Committee Council Work Labour Group Labour Party 
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  1. L. J. Sharpe, ‘The Politics of Local Government in Greater London’, Public Administration, 1960, pp. 157–72. H. V. Wiseman, ‘The Working of Local Government in Leeds’, Public Administration, 1963, pp. 51–69, 137–55.Google Scholar
  2. See W. Thornhill, ‘Agreements between Local Parties in Local Government Matters’, Political Studies, 1957, pp. 83–8.Google Scholar

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© G. W. Jones 1969

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  • G. W. Jones

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