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Outside Parliament 1931-1945

(page 4 of 4)
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Campaign leaflets for Jennie Lee in the Bristol by-election in 1943.
Image : Jennie Lee campaign leaflets
Date: 1943
Publicity photo of Jennie Lee, mid 1940s, possibly taken during the Bristol campaign in 1943.
Image : Jennie Lee c. mid-1940s
Date: 1943

In 1943 Jennie decided to stand for election for Bristol – significantly as an Independent candidate. Jennie had remained loyal to the ILP (Independent Labour Party) when they split from the Labour Party, but now, along with other reasons, she saw that the ILP were too isolated for her to win a seat from within their party. She resigned from the ILP in 1942.

There are a number of items within the Archive collection from the Bristol campaign showing the political priorities for war-time Britain. On this page you can see items from the collection from Jennie’s Bristol campaign including a publicity photograph.

Author J. B. Priestley wrote a letter of support to Jennie in January 1943. In it he wrote:

“I support your candidature most enthusiastically for two equally strong but separate sets of reasons. In the first place your opinions seem to me absolutely right opinions and you stand for the only policy that will enable us to win the Peace as well as the War and prevent any more wars of this kind.

Secondly you are exactly the right sort of person to go into the House of Commons. You are a woman of the people who understands the people, and yet have had considerable political experience and have a personality… that wins approval to your point of view.”

Ultimately, and somewhat surprisingly, Jennie was defeated by Tory MP Lady Apsley.

The following year Jennie re-joined the Labour Party. You can read the letter sent to Jennie by George Shepherd on behalf of the Labour Party NEC after they offered no objection to her re-joining the Party in 1944.  

Outside Parliament 1931-1945 (page 4 of 4)