History

This page details some of the history of the labour movement and Blackburn Labour Party in the local area. Biographical profiles of some of our major figures, such as Barbara Castle, are shown on the menu to the left. If you think you have anything to contribute or think something is missing from here, please get in touch using our contact form or emailing hello@blackburnlabour.org.

1832 – 1945

The historic Constituency of Blackburn was created in the 1832 Great Reform Act and returned two MP’s to Westminster in each election until 1950. Both Liberal and Conservative MPs represented the town until 1906.

In the 1906 General Election Philip Snowden was elected as Blackburn’s first Labour MP. He moved on after the first world war and the town returned to Liberal and Conservative representation. In the 1929 General Election – the first in which women under the age of 30 were allowed to vote – Thomas Gill and Mary Hamilton were both elected as Labour Members of Parliament for Blackburn and served until 1931.

1945 – 1955

The Labour Landslide of 1945 can be seen as the turning point in both the history of Blackburn Labour Party and indeed the town’s political history. Both John Edwards and Barbara Castle were sent to Westminster and thus began a period of success for the Labour Party in Blackburn that continues to this day.

In 1950 Blackburn was split into two constituencies, West and East, the West being the more affluent and returning a Conservative member. John Edwards lost his seat but Barbara Castle continued as Member of Parliament for Blackburn East.

1955 – 1979

From 1955 Blackburn was re-established as a Single Member Constituency: the town now had only one MP and much of the west of the old seat was placed into the Darwen Constituency. Barbara Castle continued to represent Blackburn in Parliament until 1979, serving as the town’s MP for a total of 34 years.

1979 – Present Day

Barbara Castle was of course followed by current Labour MP, Jack Straw. Jack had previously been a Political Assistant to Barbara, and was adopted as Labour’s candidate in 1977. He was elected to the Commons in 1979. In 2013 Jack announced his intention to stand down at the 2015 General Election.