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Escalating economic crises (the "Winter of Discontent") and a split with David Owen and others forming the SDP, resulted in Opposition status during the Thatcher years, 1979–1990.Labour returned with a 179-seat majority in the 1997 general election under the leadership of Tony Blair.Some members of the trade union movement became interested in moving into the political field, and after the extensions of the franchise in 18, the Liberal Party endorsed some trade-union sponsored candidates.

The motion was passed at all stages by the TUC, and the proposed conference was held at the Congregational Memorial Hall on Farringdon Street on 26 and 27 February 1900.

The meeting was attended by a broad spectrum of working-class and left-wing organisations — trades unions represented about one third of the membership of the TUC delegates.

Labour has had several spells in government, first as minority governments under Ramsay Mac Donald in 19–31.

Mac Donald and half his cabinet split with the mainstream of the Party and were denounced as traitors.

Under Harold Wilson in 1964–70 it promoted economic modernisation.

Labour was in government again in 1974–79, under Wilson and then James Callaghan.After a debate, the 129 delegates passed Hardie's motion to establish "a distinct Labour group in Parliament, who shall have their own whips, and agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to cooperate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour." This created an association called the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), meant to coordinate attempts to support MPs sponsored by trades unions and represent the working-class population.It had no single leader, and in the absence of one, the Independent Labour Party nominee Ramsay Mac Donald was elected as Secretary.A graph showing the percentage of the popular vote received by major parties in general elections, 1832–2005.The rapid rise of the Labour Party after its founding during the late 19th century is clear, and Labour became one of the two major forces in politics.Among these were the Independent Labour Party, the intellectual and largely middle-class Fabian Society, the Social Democratic Federation and the Scottish Labour Party.

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