On this day in 1856 Keir Hardie, the founder of the Labour Party, was born.
Standing up for working people, a commitment to equality and fairness were his founding principles. These principles are still the lifeblood of our Party today.
Keir understood how hard life was for working people. He was born in a time without a minimum wage, when families struggled and many people lived in poverty. There was no NHS and few protections for workers.
From age ten until 23 Keir worked in mines. He put himself through night school during that time, joined the Evangelical Union and became a trusted spokesman for his fellow workers. Because he stood up for them, Keir and his two brothers were outcast by mine owners and couldn’t get work.
Despite this huge challenge, it led to Keir finding his real talent: speaking up for people and championing change.
By August 1879 he was a trade union organiser. In the next two decades he helped create a powerful union of Scottish miners, helped miners get better pay and started his own newspaper. He also became more involved in politics and started fighting for working people in Parliament.
In the 1906 general election, Labour won 29 seats. It took a number of years for us to win power but Keir’s values are at the heart of every victory we’ve achieved for people.
From founding the NHS, introducing laws to stop discrimination, the minimum wage, the first Climate Change Act in the world, maternity pay and more, Labour has always stood up for working people. And we always will.
Today our Party is led by another Keir – Keir Starmer. Our leader today shares our founders’ passion for justice and the determination to make life better for working people.
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