Archive for the ‘Scottish Trades Councils’ Labour Party’ Category

In February 1891 a conference of representatives of the Aberdeen Trade Council and the Aberdeen Labour Committee met to discuss political matters and recommended the Council to convene a meeting of delegates from Trade Councils across Scotland. The aim was united action to secure Labour members of parliament for Scotland, with a programme such as a legislative eight-hour day. The meeting took place in August 1891 and was arranged from Aberdeen but convened in Edinburgh. The key resolution was that: ‘This conference recognising the need for direct representation of labour in Parliament and on local administrative boards, recommends that wherever a candidate is put forward by recognised local labour organisations, and whose candidature is in no wise connected with either great political parties, every possible effort should be made by the trade organisations of this country to assist him financially and otherwise’. The Scottish Trades Councils’ Labour Party (STCLP) was formally established at the next conference in Glasgow in March 1892 and the Executive Committee consisted of a representative from each Scottish trades council as well as a representative of the Scottish Labour Party. The Party recommended that local branches were established and in May 1892 a branch in Aberdeen was formed. Branch members included former members of the Aberdeen Labour Committee: A.T.G. Beveridge (he was Chairman), A. Birse, George Bisset, George Gerrie, A.P. Glass and William Mitchell (Joint-Secretary); individuals and trade unionists from the Aberdeen Socialist Society such as William Cooper and William Rennie; and other officers such as John Keir (Vice-Chairman), J.I. Mundie (Joint-Secretary) and James Philip (Treasurer).

The Aberdeen branch was involved in the promotion of the first ever ‘Labour’ candidate, Henry Hyde Champion (formerly of the Social Democratic Federation) in Aberdeen South, in 1892. Yet the formation at national level of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in late 1892/early 1893 changed everything and there seemed no reason for the continuation of the STCLP, so much so that the STCLP folded by March 1893 and advised that branches should now join the ILP. The Aberdeen ILP formed directly from The Scottish Trades Councils’ Labour Party and it was more or less a simple name change.

The STCLP was briefly resurrected by Champion in October 1893 and a conference was held in Dundee. This was basically a vehicle for Champion and part of his feud with leaders of the ILP such as Keir Hardie. It was unsuccessful though.

Related entries: Aberdeen Trades Union Council, Aberdeen Labour Committee and Independent Labour Party (Aberdeen branch).

References: Trade Unionism in Aberdeen 1878 1900 (K. D. Buckley, Edinburgh, 1955).

Sources: unknown but references within Aberdeen Trades Union Council papers held at University of Aberdeen Library.

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