Socialist Labour Party (UK)

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Not to be confused with Socialist Labour Party (UK, 1903).
Socialist Labour Party
Leader Arthur Scargill
President John Tyrrell
Vice-President James McDaid
General Secretary Kim Bryan
Treasurer Ken Capstick
Founded 1996
Split from Labour Party
Headquarters PO Box 193, Liverpool. L38 0WX.
Ideology socialism
Political position Left-wing
Colours Red

The Socialist Labour Party (SLP) is a socialist political party in the United Kingdom. The party was established in 1996 and is led by former trade union leader Arthur Scargill. The party’s name highlights its commitment to socialism and acknowledges Clause IV of the Labour Party’s former constitution, as fundamental to the party’s identity.

The SLP advocates economic localism and is in favour of reopening the mines.[1]

In February 2014, The Guardian newspaper reported that the SLP had only 300 members, which it attributed to Scargill’s withdrawal from public life.[2]According to accounts filed for the year of 2014 with the Electoral Commission, the Socialist Labour Party had 385 members excluding affiliates. It had an income of around £9,362 and an expenditure of £11,386.[3]

The Socialist Labour Party currently has one elected council member who sits on the parish council for West Horndon in Essex.



Arthur Scargill formed the Socialist Labour Party in 1996 as a reaction to Tony Blair‘s rewrite of Clause IV in the Labour Party’s constitution a year earlier, seen as a final rejection of a commitment to socialism. The SLP advocates the public ownership of leading industries – which had been privatised under Conservative Party prime minister Margaret Thatcherduring the 1980s, with the policy being maintained by her successor John Major and then advocated by Labour Party leader Tony Blair in his re-write of Clause IV.

In 2004, a purge of Marxist-Leninists from the SLP, over the issue of relations with North Korea, led to the formation of theCommunist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist).[5]

The party attracted trade union figures such as Mick Rix and Bob Crow.[citation needed]

In early 2014, the SLP gained three Labour councillors in Barking and Dagenham through defection.[6] However, these members lost their seats in the 2014 UK local elections to the Labour Party. [7]

Electoral performance[edit]

Election results[edit]

House of Commons[edit]

House of Commons of the United Kingdom
Election year # of total votes  % of overall vote # of seats won
1997[8] 52,109 Increase 0.2% Increase 0 Steady
2001[9] 57,288Increase 0.2% Increase 0 Steady
2005[10] 20,167 Decrease 0.1% Decrease 0 Steady
2010[11] 7,196 Decrease 0.0% Decrease 0 Steady
2015[12] 3,481 Decrease 0.0% Steady 0 Steady

At the 2001 general election, the party took about 3% of the vote in seats where it stood candidates.

The party received its highest share of the vote in an individual constituency at the 2005 general election, when it gained 14.2% of the votes cast in Glasgow North East.

The Socialist Labour Party did not contest the 2004 European Parliament election, but fielded a full list of candidates for England, Scotland and Wales in the 2009 European Parliament election, where it took 173,115 votes, or 1.1% of the national vote.[13]

United Kingdom general election, 2010[edit]

The Socialist Labour Party ran 23 candidates in the 2010 general election, who received a total of 7,196 votes, less than 0.1% of the UK national vote. All lost their deposits. The best results were those of Kai Andersen in Liverpool West Derby (614 votes – 1.7%) and Ken Capstick in Barnsley East (601 votes – 1.6%). In the local elections held on the same day, Andersen also received 244 votes (4.2%) in the Croxteth ward of Liverpool and in 2012 received 410 votes (14.76%) coming second in the same ward. [14]

Scottish Parliament general election, 2011[edit]

The Socialist Labour Party contested all electoral regions of the Scottish Parliament in 2011, increasing its share of the vote from 0.7% in 2007 to 0.9%. Most other political parties saw a decrease in their vote share due to the landslide victory by theScottish National Party (SNP). The SLP beat all other left-wing opposition for the first time, as well as parties like the British National Party (BNP).

National Assembly for Wales election, 2011[edit]

The Socialist Labour Party increased its share of the vote from 1.2% in 2007 to 2.4%, giving the SLP the second biggest percentage gain of the total votes cast in the election. It outperformed other small left-wing parties as well as the BNP. The SLP also received more votes than the Green Party in two of the five regions of Wales.[15] At the local elections on the same day the SLPs Kenny Spain received 251 votes (27%) coming second in the Rossmore ward of Cheshire West and Chester.[16]

UK Local Elections 2014[edit]

Although the SLPs three councillors, defectors from Labour in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham, lost their seats, the party’s vote in the local elections of 22 May showed an upward trend. Its highest votes were polled in Barnsley where Terry Robinson received 105 votes (8.5%) in Worsborough ward while Frank Watson received 178 (9%) in Stairfoot. Elsewhere, John Tyrrell received 392 votes (6.6%) in Birmingham’s Handsworth Wood ward while Barbara Bryan received 129 (6.3%) in the Linacre ward of Sefton. [17]