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James Barr (politician): Wikis


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Rev James Barr (1862 – 1949) was a British Labour Party politician and a noted pacifist and socialist. He was also a strong supporter of home rule for Scotland, a minimum wage and the Temperance movement.

Barr was Member of Parliament (MP) for Motherwell, from 1924 to 1931 and then for Coatbridge from 1935 to 1945.

He was Chairman of the Select Committee on Capital Punishment, 1929 - 1930 which reported at the end of the latter year.

In 1930-1931 he was Chairman of the Liaison Committee, as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party was then known at any time when the party was in government.

A Presbyterian minister, Barr strongly opposed any link between Church and State; in his view, the Church must support and maintain itself on an entirely voluntary basis.

For this reason, he was a prominent member of the United Free Church of Scotland and he led the opposition to that group's reunion with the Church of Scotland in 1929; he and those of like mind did not participate in the re-union and continued as the United Free Church of Scotland, which is still in existence.

His maiden speech as an MP was an attack on the Church of Scotland (Property and Endowments) Act 1925 and lasted just under an hour and a half.

Published works

  • Barr, James (1903). Christianity and war, lectures.. London.  
  • Barr, James (1916). The conscientious objector, a lecture. London.  
  • Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Select Committee on Capital Punishment.; Rev. James Barr (Chairman) (1931). Report from the Select Committee on Capital Punishment : together with the proceedings of the Committee, and the minutes of evidence, taken before the Select Committee on Capital Punishment in 1929-1930, together with appendices and index. London: HMSO. cxiv, 681 pp.  
  • Barr, James (1941). Ignored speeches. London: Parliamentary Peace Aims Group.  


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hugh Ferguson
Member of Parliament for Motherwell
Succeeded by
Thomas Ormiston
Preceded by
William Paterson Templeton
Member of Parliament for Coatbridge
Succeeded by
Jean Mann


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