Thomas Richards (Welsh politician)

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Thomas Richards in the mid-1900s

Thomas Richards (8 June 1859 – 7 November 1931) was a Welsh trade unionist and politician.

Born in Beaufort, Richards was educated at the Beaufort British School, before becoming a coal miner at the age of twelve. In 1884, he was the main founder of the Ebbw Vale and Sirhowy Colliery Workmen's Association, serving as its secretary and agent. The association became part of the South Wales Miners' Federation in 1898, Richards continuing as agent of its Ebbw Vale District until 1901, while also becoming the first general secretary of the SWMF.[1]

Richards was a supporter of the Liberal-Labour movement, and was elected to Monmouthshire County Council in 1904. That year, he won a by-election to become Member of Parliament for West Monmouthshire. In 1909, he was instructed by his trade union to resign the Liberal whip and take the Labour whip and at both the 1910 General Elections he stood as a Labour candidate. He held the seat until its abolition at the 1918 general election, when he was elected for the new Ebbw Vale constituency. He resigned from Parliament in 1920.[1]

Out of Parliament, Richards devoted his time to the SWMF, and the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB). He represented them on the General Council of the Trades Union Congress from 1925, and served as President of the MFGB from 1929 to 1930.[1]

Richards was made a Privy Councillor in 1918.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Stenton, Michael; Lees, Stephen (1979). Who's Who of British Members of Parliament. III. Brighton: Harvester Press. p. 302. ISBN 0855273259.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir William Vernon Harcourt
Member of Parliament for West Monmouthshire
constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Ebbw Vale
Succeeded by
Evan Davies
Trade union offices
Preceded by
New position
Agent for the Ebbw Vale District of the South Wales Miners' Federation
Succeeded by
William Vyce
Preceded by
New position
Secretary of the South Wales Miners Federation
Succeeded by
Oliver Harris
Preceded by
Stephen Walsh
Vice-President of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Ebby Edwards
Preceded by
Herbert Smith
President of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Ebby Edwards