Thursday, December 10, 2009

George Lansbury (1859-1940)

George Lansbury (1859-1940)
Born in Suffolk and a railway worker at the age of fourteen, Lansbury became a poor law guardian in 1892 and a borough councilor in 1903.

He was elected to parliament in 1910 but resigned two years later to fight a by election, which he lost, on a women’s suffrage ticket.

Mayor of Poplar (1919-20), in 1921 he and other councilor were imprisoned for six weeks for refusing to raise the country rate because Poplar was too poor to pay it.

He edited the socialist Daily Herald (1919-22) and then his own Lansbury Labor Weekly (1925-27).

Entering parliament again in 1922, he served under Ramsay MacDonald as the first commissioner of works (1929-31), in which capacity he created the Lido on the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London.

When MacDonald abandoned Labor to head the national government (1930), Lansbury became leader of the Labor Party and of the opposition.

As a committed pacifist, he resigned when the Labor Party conference voted, despite the risk of war, to support sanctions impressed imposed on Italy for its attack on Ethiopia (1935).

In a vain attempt to avert conflict with the fascist powers, he voted both Hitler and Mussolini in 1937.
George Lansbury (1859-1940)

5 most popular articles