Labour Party (United Kingdom)

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'New Labour'

The Labour Party is a political party in the United Kingdom. The party was founded in 1900 by various unions and the Fabian Society. It won a post-war landslide election victory in 1945, and as Prime Minister Clement Attlee introduced a wave of socialist reforms including the National Health Service and widespread nationalisation of public services.

Defining itself in its constitution as Democratic Socialist, their policies are nowadays mostly social democratic, or even Conservative.

In government

It was last in power as the governing party of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2010, with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown serving as Prime Minister. Their 1997 victory was famous as a landslide, ousting the Conservative Party from a considerable reign that stretched back to 1979. The majority gained was substantially reduced over the course of the 2001 and 2005 elections. Labour performed poorly in the 2010 General Election, and David Cameron of the Conservative Party is now the Prime Minister.

Labour currently has 212 seats in the House of Lords and 13 seats in the European Parliament. It is traditionally the main left wing UK party, although it has moved to the centre in recent years. It is currently led by Ed Miliband after an election battle with his brother, David Miliband.

'New Labour'

New Labour was Tony Blair's rebrand of Britain's Labour Party, designed by Peter Mandelson. The rebrand involved abandoning much of the party's core principles such as nationalisation, and cutting back trade union influence on party decision-making. As 'New Labour' (incidentally, never a formal title) the party swept back to power in May 1997 after 18 years of opposition. They were initially progressive in government, introducing legislature such as the 'Good Friday Agreement' that brought peace to Northern Ireland, the national Minimum Wage and writing off Third World debts, but gradually became more-and-more right wing, dragging Britain into George Bush's illegal Iraq War and encouraging draconian surveillance of the general public in the name of 'anti-terrorism'.

See also