The Men of 1924: Britain's First Labour Government by Peter Clark
2 October 2024
The new Cabinet in January 1924 consisted, as governments had for generations, of twenty white, middle-aged men. But that is where the similarities with previous governments ended, for the election of Britain’s first Labour administration witnessed a radical departure from government by the ruling class. Replacing Stanley Baldwin’s Conservatives were Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour, the majority of whom had left school by the age of fifteen. Five of them had started work by the time they were twelve years old. Three were working down the mines before they entered their teens. Two were illegitimate, one was a foundling, three were of Irish immigrant descent. For the first time in Britain’s history the Cabinet could truly be said to represent all of Britain’s social classes.This unheralded revolution in representation is the subject of Peter Clark’s fascinating new book, The Men of 1924. Who were these men? Clark’s vivid portrayal is full of evocative portraits of a new breed of politician, the forerunners of all those who, later in the last century and in this one, overcame a system from which they had been excluded for too long.