Now in its eleventh edition, this book provides a brief introductory account of the Labour Party from its foundation up to the choice of Tony Blair to succeed John Smith as leader of the party, and the subsequent redrafting of the party's statement of aims in its constitution. It describes the main groups involved in the foundation of the party and the main influences on its changes of policy. It also describes the role of the trade unions within the party and their relations with the parliamentary leadership and the rank-and-file members. It concludes by discussing the problems Labour has faced in gaining an effective parliamentary majority, and the solutions which have been devised by successive generations of the party's leadership. This book thus provides the essential background for an understanding of the current political situation.