In 1918 he was elected to the National Council of the Labour Party and stood as a Labour candidate in the 1918 General Election but was defeated. He won the Glasgow Bridgeton seat in the 1922 election, leading to a stormy parliamentary career that lasted until his death in 1946.

Winston Churchill

"I always said he was 'the finest gentleman in the House of Commons'."

He was Chairman of the ILP from 1926-31 and again after its break with the Labour Party in 1932, from 1934-39. In this period, he effectively identified the ILP and its militant socialist platform. When he died, the ILP foundered and ceased to be an independent political party.

He devoted much of his political life to alleviating poverty within the city of Glasgow.