Alfred Edwards, MP for Middlesbrough East, 1935-50, has been subject to only cursory academic attention during the lifetime of the 1945-51 Labour Government. However, this article provides the first detailed study of Edwards’s parliamentary career. It is argued that he was a significant national figure due to both his expulsion from the Labour Party in 1948 and his subsequent campaign waged against Labour’s policy of steel nationalisation in 1949. This article further argues that steel nationalisation was the most controversial element in Labour’s 1945 manifesto as it was neither a failing industry, nor a public utility. As such, steel nationalisation provoked to the largest anti-government vote during Attlee’s 1945-50 administration. In these years, Edwards played a substantial role in harnessing forces against steel nationalisation, culminating in his Steel Defence Campaign of 1949. Through an investigation of Edwards parliamentary conduct, expulsion from the Labour Party, and Steel Defence campaign this article concludes that, even if speaking on only one issue and for a short period of time, Edwards was a headline generating figure whose absence from the historiography of these years is worthy of reassessment.
|Journal||Labour History Review|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 5 May 2023|