The Labour Party (L) is one of the two major political parties in the Republic of England, typically representing a platform that adheres to left-wing idealogies. The Labour Party was founded at the 1964 Labour Conference and won its first majority in the English Parliament in 1966 as the first official party to ever win an election (previously, there had been no official parties, just alliances between individual MPs).
The Labour Party has held majorities in Parliament during the following periods:
1966-1972 (Party Leader: Donald Sutcliffe)
1981-1984 (Party Leader: Andrew Brantle)
1987-1990 (Party Leader: John Oliver)
1999-2005 (Party Leader: John Lennon)
2011-Present (Party Leader: Jack Davenport
As per constitutional reforms made in 1977, Labour's leader while it holds majority has been the Prime Minister. No Labour Prime Minister has ever been challenged in a leadership election while holding office, or called for leadership elections pending eventual resignation following an upcoming general election.
The following men have held the office of Labour Party leader:
Donald Sutcliffe 1964-1973
James Boren 1973-1978
Andrew Brantle 1978-1984
John Oliver 1984-1991
Peter Spencer 1991-1995
Roger Brady 1995-1998
John Lennon 1998-2005
Roman Dansley 2005-2007
Nick McDonald 2007-2010
Jack Davenport 2010-Present
History of Labour Party
The Labour Party was designed to be a left-wing, liberal alternative to the conservative government of Charles Morgan in the aftermath of the Anarchy. While Labour was, in its nascent form as the English Social Party in the late 1950's, painted as a return of the Socialists, Donald Sutcliffe arrived to bring the party back to the center, offering broad and ambitious stimulus from the government, instead of lucrative contracts to foreign companies that did little to help impoverished Englishmen.
Sutcliffe's resounding victory in 1966 helped spur six years of Labour leadership, but the narrow victory in 1969 resulted in a powerful faction of centrists calling themselves the Whigs bartering with the unaffiliated conservative right-wing elements to block Labour policies. As Labour drifted to the left with defections to the Whigs, Sutcliffe's coalition of liberals and leftist idealogues collapsed as the Whigs, led by hard-right Eustace Minor, won the 1972 general election.
For Labour, the 1970's were known as the "wilderness years," as they sought to reclaim the majority but were unable to attract centrists to their now hard-left party. Labour was seen as a party aligned with socialists and the French Empire. Finally, Andrew Brantle, a centrist politician, won the 1978 leadership elections following yet another defeat to the Whigs and combatted Minor as the Prime Minister of "bombs, bailouts and bigotry." The 1979-1983 global recession hurt the conservative Whigs and Labour stormed back into power in 1981 behind Brantle and his pledge of "new ideas for a new decade."
However, the realities of the recession and two massive Cold War scandals in England, as well as his inability to unite unilateralists and centrists within his own party, cost Brantle popular support and new Whig leader Stephen Norrington referred to his initials, AB, as standing for "Air Balloon." Labour lost a narrow election and Brantle stepped down in December of 1984 in favor of John Oliver, who would win the 1987 election after an expenses scandal rocked the Whigs and Norrington was accused of being involved.
Oliver's government was even more unpopular than Norrington's and he was seen as out-of-touch and elitist, even once referred to as "the Louis XVI of the 20th Century." Oliver's Parliament was hung despite his majority for three months in 1989 as the Labour Party nearly divided in two as unilateralism once again became an issue and the English pound suffered from the Irish buyout financial crisis. The 1990 general election was one of the greatest landslides in electoral history, and the Labour Party would not regain power again until they jockeyed popular general John Lennon into the leadership role in 1999 while taking a center-left stance.
Lennon drifted the party too far to the center for many traditional Labour politicians and he was unable to defeat Jeremy Irons and the Whigs in 2005 due to a lingering recession and his inability to earn support in his own party. The post-Lennon period has seen three Labour leaders, the most recent Jack Davenport elected in November of 2010, which has led many experts to question the strength of Labour as the Whigs continue to consolidate and appease with success the center and the right in almost every general election since 1990.