Richardson, Thomas

Primitive Methodist trade unionist, born at Usworth, County Durham, on 6 June 1868. His father was killed in 1885 in a mining accident at Usworth colliery. As a member of the Independent Labour Party Thomas became its leading member in Whitehaven, being elected as its first Labour MP in 1910. In Parliament he voted along with Barnet Kenyon against the Military Services Bill (1916) which introduced conscription. He supported the rights of conscientious objectors, speaking six times during 1916 alone, and also spoke on wartime restrictions and civic liberty, notably police confiscation of ILP literature. His anti-war stance made him unpopular within his constituency and appears to have influenced his failure in 1918 to win the seat at Bosworth. Disappointed, for some years he lived in Canada and died on 22 October 1928.

His brother William Pallister Richardson (1873-1930), born on 25 February 1873, also at Usworth, began working in the pit soon after their father's death. Active in the ILP, he joined the Durham Miners' Association, being its branch secretary from 1898 and was elected to the county executive in 1917. He served as the treasurer of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain from 1924 and was its general secretary from 1924 until his death on 8 August 1930.

Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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