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Labour Party

Labour Party, English political party founded in 1900 by trade unions and socialist groups—the Independent Labour Party (1893) and the Fabian Society—with James Keir Hardie as its first leader. It gained nationwide support after World War I, first coming to power under Ramsay Mac-Donald in 1924. His second administration (1929–31) ended in coalition with the Conservatives, division within the party, and electoral defeat. The first effective socialist program was implemented by the Labour government of Clement Attlee (1945–51), instituting the National Health Service and nationalizing the Bank of England and major industries. Attlee was followed as leader by Hugh Gaitskell, who was succeeded at his death (1963) by Harold Wilson. Prime minister in 4 Labour governments (1964–70, 1974–76), he was succeeded by James Callaghan. Callaghan yielded leadership in 1979 to Michael Foot, a member of the party's left wing. As Labour became deeply embroiled in factionalism, several leaders resigned to form the new Social Democratic Party in 1981. After the party's decisive loss in the June 1983 general election, Neil Kinnock replaced Foot as leader. At the 1997 general elections, Labour achieved the highest gain in seats ever. Tony Blair became the new prime minister.

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