Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bell was a high-profile trade unionist, the general secretary of the Railway Servants union. He was elected for Derby, a two-member constituency, alongside a Liberal in the 1900 general election. He sympathised with the Liberals on most issues, except where issues directly affected his union. This meant that he was not very compatible with the other Labour MP, Keir Hardie, a committed socialist member of the Independent Labour Party.
By 1903, Bell was struggling to adhere to the rules of the LRC group in Parliament, which now had five members following a series of by-elections. By 1904, he was considered to have lapsed from the group and was associated with the Liberal Party. He was re-elected at the 1906 general election.
His supporters in the Derby Trades Council became disillusioned with Bell and he was replaced at the January 1910 general election by Jimmy Thomas, another railway worker. After leaving Parliament, Bell joined the Employment Exchange branch of the Board of Trade. He retired from that in 1920 but continued in local politics and served as a member of the Southgate Urban District Council 1922-29.
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