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Front Page | UK Politics | Labour's centenary
A history of Labour
Click on the arrows to follow the history of the Labour Party.
1951 - 1964
Thirteen wasted years
They never had it so good - and Labour found it difficult to prove otherwise.

Audio  Hugh Gaitskell attacks the government during the 1956 Suez crisis.
Thirteen wasted years

After the 1951 election Labour finds itself back in opposition but the party takes its largest share of the popular vote (48.8%) in its history, only to see the Conservatives win more seats.

Rising prosperity, the end of rationing and the consumer boom presided over by the Tory Prime Minister Harold Macmillan saw Labour on the back foot for most of the 1950s.

With Labour losing again in 1955 Attlee finally steps down, and is replaced by the young right-wing leader Hugh Gaitskell. Despite the change of direction and the apparent end of splits with the Bevanite left, Labour sees its vote slide still further in 1959.

After Gaitskell's untimely death in 1963, the party chooses the youthful Harold Wilson as its new leader. He manages to contrast himself with the ageing Tory premier Sir Alec Douglas-Home, and takes Labour back to power by a whisker.

1900-1906
1945-1951
1906-1914
1951-1964
1914-1924
/hi/english/static/in_depth/uk_politics/2000/labour_centenary/1964_1970.stm1964-1970
1924-1931
1970-1979
1931-1939
1979-1994
1939-1945
1994-2000
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