The House of Commons included a small number of MPs who represented the interests of the working classes and the trade unions. These were working men, mostly from coal mining districts. They took the Liberal whip and were known as Lib-Labs.
In 1892 James Keir Hardie was elected MP for West Ham South, the first independent Labour MP. Hardie believed that the labour movement needed its own independent political party.
Hardie was not the only one calling for a move away from the Liberals and the establishment of an independent party for labour.
This was also promoted by Joseph Burgess editor of the Workmen’s Times.
Several independent labour organisations had already been established. These included the Scottish Labour Party, which Hardie had helped found in 1888, the Bradford Labour Union and the Colne Valley Labour Union, both founded in 1891.