New Party (Oswald Mosley)
The New Party was a political party briefly active in the United Kingdom in the early 1930s. It was formed by Oswald Mosley who had become disaffected with the Labour Party when at its 1930 conference it narrowly rejected his "Mosley Memorandum", a document he had written outlining how he would deal with the problem of unemployment.
On December 8, 1930, Mosley published an expanded version of the "Mosley Memorandum", which attracted the support of 16 Labour MPs. On February 28, 1931 Mosley resigned from the Labour Party, launching the New Party the following day, attracting the allegiance of six Labour MPs initially, although two resigned membership after a day and sat in the House of Commons as independent MPs.
The New Party's first electoral contest was at the Ashton-under-Lyne by-election in April, 1931. With a threadbare organisation they polled some 16% of the vote, splitting the Labour vote and allowing a Conservative to be returned to the Commons.
The New Party programme was built on the "Mosley Memorandum", advocating a national policy to meet the economic crisis that the Great Depression had brought. They favoured granting wide-ranging powers to the government, with only general control by Parliament and creating a five member Cabinet without specific portfolio, similar to the War Cabinet adopted during the First World War. Their economic strategy broadly followed Keynesian thinking and suggested widespread investment into housing to provide work and improve housing standards overall.
Mosley's tendency to want to control the policy making decision of the New Party forced many members to resign membership. However, later in 1931 a Conservative MP and a Liberal MP (Cecil Dudgeon) both joined the New Party. At the 1931 general election the New Party contested 24 seats, but only Mosley himself, and a candidate in Merthyr Tydfil (where they stood against only the Labour Party) polled a decent amount of votes.
Following the election Mosley toured Europe and became convinced of the virtues of Fascism. As the New Party became more authoritarian and parts of it (e.g. its youth movement) began to adopt fascist thinking, previous supporters such as John Strachey defected from it, and in 1932 Mosley united the various fascist organisations in the UK, forming the British Union of Fascists, to which the New Party subsumed itself.
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