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A History of the Northern Ireland Labour PartyDemocratic Socialism and Sectarianism$
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Aaron Edwards

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719078743

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719078743.001.0001

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The Labour Opposition of Northern Ireland, 1958–65

The Labour Opposition of Northern Ireland, 1958–65

(p.70) 3 The Labour Opposition of Northern Ireland, 1958–65
A History of the Northern Ireland Labour Party

Aaron Edwards

Manchester University Press

Labour was greatly facilitated in its bid to direct public attention away from the border issue by Nationalist indifference towards the IRA's campaign. The Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) was recognised as Her Majesty's Official Opposition. The conduct of the Unionist government administration in its fight against the IRA caused a major headache for British political parties. Northern Ireland's poor socio-economic prospects suffocated the unique qualities of homegrown talent. Terence O'Neill's liberalism sought to steer a middle course between the right of his party and the left of the NILP. The NILP's failure to secure any parliamentary representation at the 1964 Westminster Election only sapped at Tom Boyd's political energy. The full extent of Labour's disastrous performance was not appreciated until six months later when Sam Napier submitted his audit to the Executive Committee (EC). It then became clear that the Protestant working class was undergoing fluctuations of a sectarian nature.

Keywords:   Parliamentary Labour Party, Northern Ireland, NILP, IRA, Terence O'Neill, Sam Napier, British political parties, liberalism, 1964 Westminster Election, Tom Boyd

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