History of Milton Keynes Labour Party

'That a Labour Party be formed in North Bucks'

Organised by the Wolverton and District Trades Council a Labour Conference was held in a small hall at the Wolverton Science and Arts Institute (now the Wolverton Agora Car Park) on Saturday 5th May 1917 to consider the advisability of forming a Labour Party in North Bucks. Over 100 delegates attended including representatives from the National Union of Railwaymen, The Nation Union of Workers, The Paper Workers Union, The National Union of Teachers, the Olney Branch of the Shoe Workers Union, the Wolverton, Bletchley, Stony Stratford, Newport Pagnall and Olney Co-operative Societies.

After a lot of debate on the matter Oliver Wells moved "That a Labour Party for North Bucks be formed and that the meeting pledges itself to do all it could to ensure its success" and Albert Brown seconded.

The first officers of the party were appointed as follows, President, Mr A Brown (Stantonbury), Vice - Presidents Mr Oliver Wells (Bletchley) and Mr O.H Bull (Newport Pagnell), Secretary Mr A Wells of 38, Albert Street, Bletchley, Treasurer Mr J.R Brassett (Wolverton).

On Saturday 25th November 1967 there was a Golden Jubilee celebration of the formation of the North Bucks Labour Party at Wilton Hall in Bletchley with the guest of Honour Mr Richard Crossman Leader of the House and speeches from the then Labour MP Mr Robert Maxwell, Mr Bob Haydock President of the Constituency Labour Party with a toast proposed by Mr R.G Bellchambers. The deeds of the New Bradwell Labour Hall were also presented to Mr Arthur Geen Chair of the Bradwell party, followed by a collection that raised £100 for the Earl Attlee Memorial Fund.    

Bletchley Labour Hall

The North Bucks Labour Party purchased the then St.Mary's Hall on Buckingham Road, Bletchley as their Divisional Headquarters at a cost of £25,000 (which included the cost of equipment and adding extensions to the main property). On Saturday 23rd June 1962 Labour Leader Mr Hugh Gaitskell was invited to open the building in front of 3,000 supporters, he recieved a cheque for £1,000 for the Nye Bevan Memorial Fund. After the speeches Mr Gaitskell performed no fewer than three unveilings, first was the big plaque on the front of the building proclaiming "Labour Hall 1962" with the badge of the party inscribed on it, then he moved in to the entrance hall for a private unveiling of a photograph of Mr Robert Maxwell and Mr Bryan Barnard which was inscribed "The two that made it possible Bob Maxwell who negotiated the purchase and Bryan Barnard the promotor of the Tote that provided the money" then Mr Gaitskell moved to the side of the building to unveil the foundation stone which read "Buckingham Constituency Labour Party this Labour Hall was opened by the Rt. Hon Hugh Gaitskell C.B.E M.P 23rd June 1962." 

The hall accomodation consisted of a reception office, a central committee room which was also hired out to other organisations, a fully equipped kitchen and access to the main hall which seats up to 400 people. A further wing of the building comprised of a committee room for the Bletchley Labour Party, a bar and cloakrooms and a film projection room. Upstairs consisted of a general office, the party agent's office and a small kitchen. Outside there was a car park for up to 150 cars along with grounds, and all the extension works were carried out by a small Bletchley firm called Jackman and Cottington.   

After a number of years it was difficult for the party to afford to continue to maintain and decorate the building and upkeep the grounds and so in 1976 the General Management Committee meeting decided by an "overwhelming majority" to put the Buckingham Road hall and site up for sale. This did not go down well with the Bletchley party members, but none the less the Salvation Army bought the hall and ran it for many years. They sold the site again in the 1990's to a developer who then demolished the hall and built flats on it.

New Bradwell Labour Hall 

There had been a Hall on the Newport Road New Bradwell site (where todays Labour Hall sits) and for many years before that there was a small factory building. It was the Divisional Headquarters until the move to Bletchley, and after the move there was a lot of debate as to what to do with the site. After serveral meetings with the Bradwell party it was agreed that they would meet there and maintain the building and were given £500 by the Buckingham Labour Party to sort out the outstanding repairs that needed doing. 

Then after the Bletchley site had been sold in 1977 it was agreed to demolish the hall (where the car park is today) and build new premises at a cost of £27,000 using the proceeds from the sale.

On a wet Wednesday 9th August 1978 the Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr Denis Healey cut the ribbon on the entrance porch along with the then PPC Mr John Fryer to open the new building. 

The Haydock Room 

On Thursday 8th March 1980 a plaque was unveiled commemorating the service of Mr Bob Haydock (who died in 1978) to the Labour party the unveiling was carried out by Mr Robert Maxwell in front of his daughter Mrs Alwyn Metcalfe, Margaret (Mr Haydocks widow) and Mr Haydocks son Roger. The plaque was placed above the doors of the ground floor meeting room and which was called the Haydock Room (the room was divided in to two offices in 1997 to accomodate the MP's staff but is now generally used as the party office and meeting room respectively.) 63 people attended including members of the Bingo Club who had raised money for the plaque.

The Bradwell Labour Club

On Friday 19th December 1981 a Labour Club was opened and operated from the Haydock Room with the first pints pulled by Councillors Roger Hutchinson and Kevin Wilson. 60 members attended on that opening night, the club was affiliated to the National Union of Labour and social clubs so that they could join in on the activities of "sister and "brother" clubs. Sadly due to the location and size of the room the club was not viable and a few years later it closed.

Labour MPs

The following were Labour M.P's for the constituency

Buckingham Division

1945 - 1951 Flight Lieutenant Aidan Crawley MP

1964 - 1970 Captain Robert Maxwell M.C MP

Milton Keynes South West Constituency

1997 - 2010 Dr Phyllis Starkey MP 

Milton Keynes North East Constituency

1997 - 2005 Mr Brian White MP

Labour Members of the European Parliament

The following were members of the European Parliament for the region that covered the Milton Keynes Constituency

 

Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Euro Constituency

1994 - 1999 Mrs Eryl McNally MEP

 

The South East Euro Region

1999 - 2004 Mr Mark Watt MEP

1999 -  Mr Peter Skinner MEP