Daily Images | Keir Hardie

Daily Images – Keir Hardie was the first Labour MP, elected in 1892 to West Ham South, then in Essex but now part of Newham. He was a self-educated Scot who organised the early Miners’ Union there. In 1893, Hardie and others formed the Independent Labour Party, an action that worried the Liberals, who were afraid that the ILP might, at some point in the future, win the working-class votes that they traditionally received.

Hardie hit the headlines in 1894 when, after an explosion at a colliery in Pontypridd which killed 251 miners, he asked that a message of condolence to the relatives of the victims be added to an address of congratulations on the birth of a royal heir (the future Edward VIII). The request was refused and Hardie made a speech attacking the monarchy, which resulted in uproar in the House of Commons and helped contribute to the loss of his seat in 1895.

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