ILP@130: Past & Present Renewed

The ILP has published a revised edition of Barry Winter’s The ILP: Past & Present to mark the 130th anniversary of the organisation’s founding in January 1893. This brief history, first printed 30 years ago to coincide with our centenary celebrations, has been updated and enhanced with new photographs and a new full-colour format.

Like its predecessor, the 2023 version describes the role played by different generations of ILPers in endeavouring to create a humanitarian, socially just society for all. It reviews the changing circumstances they confronted while tracing the ILP’s ever-changing relationships with other political agencies and organisations, not least the Labour Party.

Unlike its predecessor, it is published in two parts. This pamphlet, Part 1, covers the first half of the ILP’s story, from its formation in the last decades of the 19th century, through the ups and downs of its development in the early decades of the 20th, to 1945 when it found itself isolated from mainstream politics and a dwindling political force on the left.

Part 2, to be published later in 2023, will chart the post-war years and, in particular, focus on the ILP’s 1970s return to Labour as Independent Labour Publications and its role over the last half century as a distinctive left voice within and outside the party.

No doubt, some of the material here will be familiar from the sold-out first edition. But Barry’s long years of research and careful re-writing means there is much that’s new too, including tales of previously forgotten ILPers whose quiet dedication and dogged local campaigning was as important to the organisation and its cause of ethical socialism as the more lauded achievements of its better known names.

Indeed, through all its shifting shapes and fortunes, what comes across most clearly is the survival of the ILP’s core concern – to help create a society of peace, fellowship and security, where all have an equal chance to develop and thrive.

As Barry writes in his introduction: “No assessment of the left in Britain is complete without some understanding of the ILP’s record, whether judged favourably or critically. Even today we live with its historical legacy.

“This short account outlines the key moments in that history. In doing so, it touches on many issues that are still relevant today. In trying to understand the ILP’s past, we hope to offer some insights into politics today, particularly for those who share our desire to build a better world – for that has always been the ILP’s purpose.”


The ILP: Past & Present, Part 1 costs just £7.00 including postage and you can order your copy now on our Publications page.

Click here for a brief video preview of the new publication.

Bookshops interested in selling The ILP: Past & Present, Part 1 can contact us for details on

See also: ‘ILP@130: Bradford & Beyond’.

You can find more about the ILP’s history here.

1 Comment

  1. Steve Thompson
    22 June 2023

    This is excellent news. Looking forward to reading the revised edition – and part two.

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