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Crossing the floorReg Prentice and the crisis of British social democracy$
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Geoff Horn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088698

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088698.001.0001

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Labour moderate

Labour moderate

(p.10) 2 Labour moderate
Crossing the floor

Geoff Horn

Manchester University Press

This chapter explores Prentice‘s early life, including the development of his political career within the Labour Party up until 1972. During his initial period in Parliament, he established himself as a combative and committed supporter of the leadership of Hugh Gaitskell. He was strongly identified with the Gaitskellite Right during the internal party disputes that affected Labour after 1959. During his early ministerial career, from 1964-69, he was viewed as a popular and non-factional politician in tune with party opinion, and proved willing to criticise the record of the Labour Government (1964-70). However, Labour‘s subsequent period in opposition (1970-74) resulted in a decisive leftward shift in the Party and the growing fragmentation of the Right. The marginalisation of the pro-European Jenkinsites led to Prentice‘s elevation to the Shadow Cabinet in the context of an assertive Left and a divided Right, and propelled him into the role of leading spokesman for Labour‘s moderate tendency.

Keywords:   moderate, Gaitskellite, Labour Government, fragmentation, Jenkinsites

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