Will Lawther, active in the Durham Miners' Association (DMA) since 1907, was a leading and gaoled member of Red Chopwell's Council of Action during the General Strike. Within the DMA in the 1920s, he was associated with the Left; appropriately and controversially the Chopwell Lodge banner was decorated with images of Keir Hardie, Karl Marx, and Nikolai Lenin. As a Left activist, Lawther had political ambitions, and in 1929 he was elected Labour Member for Barnard Castle. Two years later, he addressed a May Day rally in the Durham coalfield. Oswald Mosley's New Party was two months old; the collapse of the second Labour Government was less than four months away. Lawther's speech remembered the 1926 stoppage selectively and developed a contrast that would become central to the Labour Party's political identity.
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