Valentine McEntee, 1st Baron McEntee

Valentine McEntee, 1st Baron McEntee

Valentine McEntee, 1st Baron McEntee (16 January 1871 – 11 February 1953) was an Irish-born Labour Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom.

Born in Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) near Dublin in 1871, McEntee was a carpenter by trade. From 1896 to 1899, like Con Lehane, he was a member of James Connolly’s Irish Socialist Republican Party. After brief stay in the USA he moved to London and became member of Social Democratic Federation, whence he went on to help found the Socialist Party of Great Britain in June 1904. So far as is known McEntee was not at all active in the SPGB. He resigned on 4 March 1905 after he was nominated as parliamentary candidate for the Labour Representation Committee (predecessor of the Labour Party (UK)).

After leaving the SPGB he joined the Independent Labour Party. By 1908 he was back in the SDF, being a local election candidate for that organisation in Walthamstow in that year. In 1909 he published a short pamphlet "Socialism Explained", a criticism of capitalism. The following year he was a delegate at the Social Democratic Party (as the SDF had been renamed) Conference and was elected to its 1910–1911 Executive Committee.

He presumably became a member of the Labour Party via the British Socialist Party, the successor to the SDF, which affiliated in 1916. During the later part of the First World War he was a member of the relatively large and actively anti-war North London Herald League, as documented in Ken Weller’s "Don’t Be a Soldier". (Other ex-SPGBers in the NLHL include R. M. Fox of "Smokey Crusade" fame; Les Boyne, an early member who was also in E. J. B. Allen’s Advocates of Industrial Unionism and Industrial League. Harry Young, first active in the NLHL, was an SPGB member later in life.) In 1920 McEntee became a local councillor for the Labour Party in Walthamstow. He went on to become MP for Walthamstow West from 1922–1924 and 1929–1950, and Mayor of Walthamstow in 1929–1930 and 1951–1952. He was made Baron McEntee in 1951 and died two years later.


*"Valentine McEntee". "Dictionary of Labour Biography", volume X.
*Ken Weller. "Don't be a Soldier".
*Socialist Party of Great Britain 1904–1913 membership register

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