Ramsay MacDonald

Kevin Morgan

Ramsay MacDonald (James Ramsay MacDonald, 1866-1937) The Labour Party’s first Prime Minister, in 1924 and 1929-35. In 1900 he was the first secretary of the newly formed Labour Representation Committee (the original name for the party). Ramsay MacDonald became prime minister with Liberal support in January 1924. When a letter (probably a forgery) from Grigori Zinoviev, the head of the Communist International, urging armed revolution was published in the press a few days before the general election of 1924 as an anti-leftist scare his coalition government was defeated. In 1929 Labour was for the first time the largest party, but his new government had to grapple with the problems of the Depression. Head of a ‘national’ government, he alternated the premiership with Stanley Baldwin. He resigned in 1935.

KEVIN MORGAN teaches government and politics at Manchester University. His main research interests are in the history of the British left and comparative Communist Party history.

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