Shepherd, John (2007) A Gentleman at the Foreign Office : influences shaping Ramsay MacDonald’s internationalism in 1924. In: The British Labour Party and the Wider World: Domestic Politics, Internationalism and Foreign Policy. I.B. Tauris, London, UK, pp. 25-47. ISBN 9781845114015

In January 1924, on the defeat of Stanley Baldwin’s Conservative ministry, Britain’s first Labour government took office – even though it could not command an overall parliamentary majority. Ramsay MacDonald surprisingly took on the dual role of Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, despite the warnings of the King. Only Queen Victoria’s Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, in the late nineteenth century, had also served at the Foreign Office. MacDonald’s decision demonstrated the priority he gave to the conduct of international affairs during his first short-lived administration. Since then, Labour’s relations with the wider world have been seen as one of the ministry’s few achievements during only 287 days in office and to have played a significant role in the evolution of Labour’s international policy in the post-war years.

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