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23 April 2015

The Returning Officer: Burslem

The Commonwealth League.

By Stephen Brasher

J W Graham Peace founded the Commonwealth League in 1919; four years later, it became the Commonwealth Land Party. It advocated land reform on the model of the US campaigner Henry George. In 1931, Arthur Rowland-Entwistle stood as its candidate in Burslem, polling 401 votes. He had written books on Shakespeare and, in 1921, Twelve Love Sonnets; he wrote the party’s national plan in 1934. He finished last, behind the defeated Labour MP Andrew MacLaren, another advocate of land reform.

In 1943, MacLaren resigned from Labour after being asked to explain his remark about the Labour minister Thomas Williams being “the most accommodating tool that the department has ever had” in a debate about dams.

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