By Henry Pelling (auth.)
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Additional resources for A Short History of the Labour Party
I Meanwhile the configuration of the extra-parliamentary party was changing all the time. There were certain formal changes that operated in the direction of increasing the party's discipline and acceptance of leadership from above . , and the left-wing George Lansbury ceased to be editor. At the same time the Communist Party with financial help from Moscow emerged as a highly disciplined group on the Left demanding still more insistently to be admitted to affiliation to the Labour Party ; and when this was refused, its members attempted to infiltrate and win control of the local Labour Parties.
But they won such an overwhelming endorsement from the unions as a whole that they had much influence in the world, both upon Lloyd George and upon President Wilson, who through various agents kept a close watch on the development of British opinion. Lloyd George soon afterwards made a statement on war aims to a conference of trade unionists, and although it was in studiously vague terms it seemed to show some Labour Party influence ; and President Wilson's Fourteen Points, which were enunciated a few days later, followed the same lines.
The actual issue was the party's attitude to the supplementary estimates moved by the Prime Minister on 6th August, notice of which was given the previous day. At a meeting late on the 5th, the party decided not to oppose these estimates, and MacDonald thereupon resigned. Arthur Henderson was appointed to take his place, and soon the great majority of the Labour Party under Henderson's lead was supporting the government, taking part in a recruiting campaign and accepting an electoral truce for the duration of the war.
A Short History of the Labour Party by Henry Pelling (auth.)