Tom Stephenson (trade unionist)

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Tom Stephenson (27 April 1895 3 December 1962) was a British trade unionist.

British people citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, British Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies, and their descendants

The British people, or the Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependencies. British nationality law governs modern British citizenship and nationality, which can be acquired, for instance, by descent from British nationals. When used in a historical context, "British" or "Britons" can refer to the Celtic Britons, the indigenous inhabitants of Great Britain and Brittany, whose surviving members are the modern Welsh people, Cornish people, and Bretons. It may also refer to citizens of the former British Empire.

Born in Moresby, near Whitehaven, Stephenson left school at the age of fourteen and followed his father in working at the Walkmill Colliery. Inspired by Tom Cape and various socialist speakers, Stephenson joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and became active in the Cumberland Miners' Association (CMA). [1]

Moresby, Cumbria

Moresby is a small village and civil parish in the Borough of Copeland in Cumbria, England. It had a population of 1,280 at the 2001 census, increasing to 1,997 at the 2011 Census. Moresby sits on Cumbria's west coast. Moresby does not contain Moresby Hall which is one of only three Grade I listed buildings in Copeland. The name of the hall and the village is thought to come from a family who settled in the area.

Whitehaven coastal town and port, Cumbria, England

Whitehaven is a town and port on the west coast of Cumbria, near the Lake District National Park in England. Historically in Cumberland, it lies by road 38 miles (61 km) south-west of Carlisle and 45 miles (72 km) to the north of Barrow-in-Furness. It is the administrative seat of Borough of Copeland district council, and has a town council for the parish of Whitehaven. The population of the town was 23,986 at the 2011 census.

Independent Labour Party UK political party

The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a British political party of the left, established in 1893, when the Liberals appeared reluctant to endorse working-class candidates, representing the interests of the majority. A sitting independent MP and prominent union organiser, Keir Hardie, became its first chairman.

Stephenson rose to promince during a lock-out of miners in 1921, and was also a leading figure in a fifteen-week strike in 1923. During the UK general strike, he called for the nationalisation of the mines. In August 1926, he was convicted of intimidating strikebreakers and was sentences to one month of hard labour. He was elected as a Labour Party member of Whitehaven Town Council in 1923. He supported the ILP disaffiliating from the Labour Party in 1932, although he stated that he would have supported them remaining if the ILP had been allowed to organise in Parliament. [1]

The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights.

Following the disaffiliating, Stephenson was chosen as the North East representative on the ILP's National Administrative Council. He was consistently re-elected to Ennerdale Rural District Council, and he was selected as the ILP candidate for Whitehaven at the 1935 general election. However, he took only 3.3% of the votes cast and, although he remained loyal to the ILP, he began to focus his work in the labour movement. [1]

The National Administrative Council (NAC) was the executive council of the Independent Labour Party (ILP), a British socialist party which was active from 1893 until 1975.

Whitehaven (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Whitehaven was a constituency centred on the town of Whitehaven in Cumberland, which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Stephenson was elected as financial secretary of the CMA in 1935, then when Cape retired, he became general secretary, moving to Workington. He was elected to the national executive of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain in 1939, where he was the leading proponent of strikes during World War II. Within the ILP, he was criticised for supporting armed support for the Soviet Union. He stood down from its national council in 1942, and left the party in about 1946, his wife paying his membership to the Labour Party. He remained known as a militant trade unionist until he retired in 1960. Shortly after, he suffered the first of several strokes, and died in 1962. [1]

Workington town, civil parish and port on the west coast of Cumbria, England

Workington is a coastal town and civil parish at the mouth of the River Derwent on the west coast of Cumbria, England. Historically in Cumberland and lying in the Borough of Allerdale, Workington is 32 miles (51 km) southwest of Carlisle, 7 miles (11 km) west of Cockermouth, and 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Maryport. At the 2011 Census it had a population of 25,207.

The Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) was established after a meeting of local mining trade unions in Newport, Wales in 1888. The federation was formed to represent and co-ordinate the affairs of local and regional miners' unions in England, Scotland and Wales whose associations remained largely autonomous. At its peak, the federation represented nearly one million workers. It was reorganised into the National Union of Mineworkers in 1945.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Keith Gildart and Gidon Cohen, Dictionary of Labour Biography, vol.XI, pp.266-274
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Tom Cape
General Secretary of the Cumberland Miners' Association
c.1939 1960
Succeeded by
Maurice Rowe
Party political offices
Preceded by
Fred Tait
North East representative on the National Administrative Council of the Independent Labour Party
19321942
Succeeded by
Norman Winters