Government Wriggles away from its Hard Line towards the Hunger Marchers

Thursday 12th  November 1936

The government softened its line on the question of whether it would receive a deputation from the groups of unemployed who had marched on London. The Jarrow marchers had been joined by groups from other areas of the country, who proved less successful in attracting the attention of history. The initial point blank refusal to meet any of the marchers had been severely criticised.

A compromise was worked out in which Ernest Brown, the Minister of Labour who was broadly sympathetic, would receive MPs accompanied by some of the constituents, who had been on the various marches and had personal tales of the hardship they were suffering. The deputation was led by the left-wing Welsh Labour MP, Aneurin Bevan. There was, of course, no hope that the deputations call for the new unemployment assistance regulations not be implemented, but there was a practical side to the government concession, as well its symbolic dimension. The constituents – and by implication other unemployed people - were invited to present details of their difficulties through their MPs with the implication that they would receive a sympathetic hearing.