ILP@130: Past & Present Part 2 – Out Now

The second part of a new updated version of The ILP: Past & Present has been published 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 revised and brought fully up to date in 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 comes in two parts.  Part 1, published in June 2023, described the ILP’s story from 1893 to 1945.

The new pamphlet, Part 2, covers the second half of the ILP’s story, from the post-war period when it struggled to survive and retain political relevance; to 1975 when it made a bold and principled decision to return to the Labour Party as Independent Labour Publications. It goes on to chart the turbulent Thatcher years when the ILP developed a distinctive approach to Labour and political change that was often at odds with much of the rest of the left.

It includes a a whole new section, written by William Brown, that traces the last 30 years, a period when the ILP has continued to provide an independent left voice within and outside the party – whether under new Labour, Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn or Keir Starmer.

You can order Part 2 directly from our website here.

Part 1, written by Barry Winter, takes the the ILP’s story from its birth in the last decades of the 19th century through the ups and downs of its development in the early decades of the 20th, including its role in founding Labour, its fateful decision to leave in 1932, and its support for causes such as the living wage, the general strike and the Spanish Civil War.

You can order Part 1 from our website here.

Together the two pamphlets provide a brief but revealing portrait of the ILP’s history and politics. 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 2 costs just £8.00 including postage and you can order your copy now on our Publications page.

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

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