British People's Party (1939)

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The British People's Party was a patriotic political party founded in May 1939 and led by ex-British Union of Fascists (BUF) member and Labour Party Member of Parliament John Beckett.

The party was under the patronage of Lord Tavistock, the heir to the Duke of Bedford. Made up of mostly former members of the BUF, its membership also briefly included Colin Jordan and St. John Philby, a former Labour Party member. The party supported an immediate end to the Second World War, and was vehemently opposed to usury, calling to mind some of the economic policies of Hilaire Belloc. The group also brought in elements of Social Credit, as Lord Tavistock had been a sometime activist in the Social Credit Party of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The party's activities were generally limited to meetings, the publication of a journal, The People's Post and the contesting of a single by-election in Hythe, Kent in 1939, where St. John Philby lost his deposit. The party was controlled by an executive committee consisting of Tavistock as Chairman, Beckett as secretary, Ex-Labour Party candidate Ben Greene (a noted Jew-wise pacifist and member of the Peace Pledge Union) as treasurer, and Viscount Lymington and former left-wing journalist John Scanlon also added. Sir Barry Domvile, leader of "The Link", had also been amongst those to offer support to the party.

Activity further fell away during the war, as the BPP's pacifist line became increasingly unpopular. The party did contest the Combined English Universities by-election on 18 March 1946 but received only 239 votes. It was eventually disbanded in 1946.

See also