|dc.description.abstract||The Labour Party, having lost the General Election in 1979 after the Winter of
Discontent,d escendedin to internalt urmoil, ast he Left-dominatedN ational Executive
Committee( NEC) and conferences oughtr evengeo n the centre-rightP arliamentary
Labour Party (PLP) for its alleged failures in government. In 1981, the Social
Democratic Party (SDP) split from Labour, leaving the Labour Party facing possible
electoral extinction. However, the trade unions - founders of the Labour Party - came
to its rescue,le d by a small groupo f dedicatedg enerals ecretariesa nd staff, who set out
to regaint he NEC for the moderatesa, ndt o return the Labour Partyt o what they termed
"sanity" and electability,b y expellingM ilitant, safeguardingth e position of Deputy
LeaderD enis HealeyM P whenc hallengedb y Tony Benn MP, andd eliveringf or Neil
Kinnock MP (the Leader they helped install after the 1983 election) an NEC committed
to supporting him in changing the party.
The thesis documents the organisation of the Right within the PLP before 1981 (the
Manifesto Group and Labour First). It then covers the internal party groupings which
organised the Fightback of the party's traditional right (the St Ermins Group of trade
union leaders, Labour Solidarity Campaign and Forward Labour). It details their role in
the leadership and deputy leadership elections, in changing the NEC's political
composition and its workings, in the expulsion of Militant, in campaigning for One
Member One Vote, and in helping keep Moderate members within the party.
Contrary to some academic writings, this thesis shows how this was initially undertaken
without the supporto f the Leader,a nd it detailst he amounto f organisationawl ork
neededto achievec hangea nd assisti n Labour's re-emergencea s an electablep arty.
The researchd rawso n extensivep rivatep apersa nd archives,t ogetherw ith over 70
interviews with key players.||en_US