Mr. J. E. Sutton is one of the “Labour” M P.s who was pledged to abstain from identifying himself with any party not affiliated to the Labour Party. This is how he did it.
The Manchester Guardian (8.1.10) reported a “Remarkable meeting at Ardwick,” where in answer to a question Mr. Sutton said :
“Mr. Zimmerman had magnanimously retired on his own initiative to give the Labour candidate a far better chance than he would have had in a three cornered contest.” (Loud cheers.)
“The Chairman, Mr. T. Lowth, added that Mr. Zimmerman’s very graceful action in retiring would materially benefit the Labour chances. He was quite sure that it was Mr. Zimmerman’s desire that all Liberals in the division should work and vote for Mr. Sutton. Mr. Zimmerman had helped them in many a straggle and would help them again.
“The Rev. J. E. Roberts, who was received with great enthusiasm, said : ‘This is the first time that I have stood on a Labour platform, and I am here as a Liberal.’—(Applause.) . .
‘I do hope that every Liberal in this division will work strenuously and earnestly to return Mr. Sutton to Parliament for this division. The fact is that we are both fighting for our very lives. Liberalism and Labour are fighting for their political existence, and it is not a time for us to be considering chiefly the things to divide, but it is a time for us to be working shoulder to shoulder together.’ (Applause).”
The Rev. Roberts also gave utterance to the following gem:
“Tariff ‘Reform’ meant more money for the rich and more poverty for the poor. Anything that meant more money for the rich and more poverty for the poor was immoral.”
Seeing that under Free Trade we have had “more money for the rich and more poverty for the poor,” the Rev. gentleman is evidently between the devil and the deep sea. Another deduction from the above extracts is that seeing Mr. Sutton was so completely identified with and supported by the Liberal Party, the latter must be affiliated to the Labour Party, as it would be more than we dare do to suggest that Mr. Sutton broke the constitution of the last named fragment of an organisation.
On the Mid-Glamorgan result the Manchester Guardian of April 2nd last says :
“It is plain from recent results that Labour members owe their election in very many eases to effective Liberal support. The knowledge that this is so, and that their votes are needed to ensure the safe return of most Labour members, imposes on Liberals a serious responsibility. . . . Tact is required on both sides, and the eve of the issue of a writ is a bad time for settling differences and employing the necessary give and take—things which should have been one long before when no contest was imminent. The Chief Liberal Whip has done well, therefore, in at once calling a meeting of Welsh Liberal members representing mining constituencies to consider the situation and, if possible, prevent the split in Glamorgan and the exasperation such a conflict must tend to engender from spreading further. The same assuaging and preventing action might well be taken in other parts of the country. The interests of Liberalism and Labour in all its various political expressions were never more completely one than now, and it would be suicidal were they not to join forces against the common foe.”
Evidently the shadow of a General Election calls for a disciplining of the “local” men on either side, and the Liberal Whip’s action in Wales is a straw showing the direction of the political wind — an indication of the even closer (if such a thing be possible) drawing together of the two wings of the Liberal Party.