This film is part of Free

Under Which Leader?

The newly-elected parliament of 1924 opens for business under a veil of mystery, as the nation comes to terms with a sea change in British politics.

Non-Fiction 1924


Parliament opened in 1924 to some big questions. Could Stanley Baldwin's Conservatives govern without a majority? Could British politics work with a three-party system? This brief newsreel item shows portraits of the then familiar figures Baldwin and Liberal leader Herbert Asquith, in order to introduce a separate story on Ramsay MacDonald. Was Britain about to see its first Labour Prime Minister?

Stanley Baldwin's decision to call an election at the end of 1923 had backfired and the Conservatives lost their majority in the Commons, losing votes to Labour and a reunited Liberal party. With no party having a clear mandate to rule, Baldwin's Government lost a vote of confidence two weeks after this newsreel was released. As leader of the opposition, Ramsay MacDonald formed Britain's first Labour Government, albeit a minority one that lasted just 10 months.