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James Ramsay MacDonald (1866 -1937) was born in North-east Scotland in a fishing port called Lossiemouth. He joined the Independent Labour Party in 1895 and was elected an MP for Leicester in 1906. He lost his seat in Leicester in 1918 largely because of his opposition to the First World War. After losing another parliamentary seat in Woolwich in 1921 he gained a seat in Aberafan in November 1922 in a general election that saw the Independent Labour Party emerge as a viable electoral alternative. In the general election of November 1923 the Conservatives lost their Parliamentary majority. Shortly after, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was defeated on a vote on the King’s speech and subsequently left office. As the Liberal leader Asquith was unwilling to form a coalition government, MacDonald’s Labour Party took the reins of power with Macdonald as both Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary.
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