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Socialist Labour Party (UK): Wikis


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Socialist Labour Party
Leader Arthur Scargill
President Paul Hardman
Founded 1996 (1996)
Headquarters PO Box 112, Leigh. WN7 4WS.
Ideology Socialism,
Trade unionism,
Irish republicanism
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
European Parliament Group No seats
Official colours Red
Politics of the United Kingdom
Political parties

The Socialist Labour Party (SLP) is a socialist political party in the United Kingdom. The party is led by former trade union leader Arthur Scargill, who established it in 1996 as a breakaway from the Labour Party. The name of the party is a deliberate nod to the defunct Socialist Labour Party led by James Connolly who was killed after the 1916 Irish Easter Rising, a quote by whom appears on the Socialist Labour Party website.

According to accounts filed for the year of 2007 with the Electoral Commission, the Socialist Labour Party had 3,020 members and 2,978 members through affiliates, making a total of 5,998. It had an income of about £19,400 and an expenditure of about £14,400.[1]



Arthur Scargill formed the Socialist Labour Party in 1996 as a reaction to Tony Blair's rewrite of Clause IV in the Labour Party's constitution, seen as a final rejection of a commitment to socialism. The SLP advocates the public ownership of industry and initially attracted trade union figures such as Mick Rix and Bob Crow.

Electoral performance

At the 2001 general election the party took about 3% of the vote in seats it stood in. It did not contest the 2004 European Elections, but fielded a full list of candidates for England, Scotland and Wales in the 2009 European Elections.

The Party managed to get its highest percentage share in any individual parliamentary constituency at the 2005 general election when it gained 14.2% of the votes cast in Glasgow North East. However, the absence of a candidate in Glasgow North East from any of the larger parties except the Scottish National Party (following the convention that the main parties do not stand against a sitting Speaker of the House of Commons) where Michael Martin was re-standing, was a probably major factor in achieving its share of the vote. Some have suggested that the high vote was merely voter confusion since as is traditional for the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin was not listed as a member of the Labour party.

The Socialist Labour Party took 173,115 votes or 1.1% of the national vote in the 2009 European Elections.[2]

Internal conflicts

The SLP suffered from the entryism practised by groups such as the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), the Revolutionary Democratic Group, the Association of Communist Workers, the International Bolshevik Tendency and the Economic and Philosophic Science Review. Scargill's distrust of such organisations and dislike of Trotskyists resulted in expulsions described as the "voiding" of membership. Scargill was initially more willing to work with organisations such as the Economic and Philosophic Science Review group and the Fourth International Supporters Caucus although both groups were later expelled.

The SLP's difficulties have in part stemmed from a number of internal conflicts resulting in the resignation or expulsion of leading members. Ideological conflict between those members seeking to develop a rigid Marxist-Leninist party and those committed to Scargill's original vision of a more leftist Labour Party grew more pronounced over time. This culminated in the expulsion of the pro-Stalin group around Harpal Brar who then formed the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). While the numbers in this group were relatively small they were among the most active members of the SLP, particular in its London-based youth group.


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