John Craig Walker
Born in 1880, In 1919 Craig Walker was elected as a Labour councillor for the North East Ward of Leeds City Council. He lost in 1922 and was unsuccessful in different wards in 1927 and 1928. But he was then elected in the Burmantofts ward from 1930 to 1937 and in Woodhouse Ward in 1938. The wartime electoral truce then kept him on the Council until November 1945.
A close comrade of Craig Walker, Alderman John Badlay, ex-Lord Mayor of Leeds, was expelled just for protesting against the banning of what has been described as a Communist meeting at Leeds Town Hall. It seems likely this was a People’s Convention conference, a campaign for peace that took hold amongst the working class in 1940. Badlay sat, officially, as an Independent thereafter, but he probably joined the Communist Party on a personal basis.
As for Craig Walker, after the Daily Worker was banned in January 1941, many Labour organisations ruthlessly suppressed inside the Labour Party the growing sympathy for it and the Communist Party. The Labour Party in Leeds was especially supportive of the Second World War even prior to the invasion of Russia, which slid the whole movement into support. Campaigning against the local trend, Craig Walker, became Secretary of the Leeds Committee for the Defence of Democratic Rights. He also wrote for Palme Dutt’s Labour Monthly in March 1941, when still a Labour councillor.
These activities ultimately led to his own expulsion from the Labour Group on Leeds City Council but not as a councillor. Rather more openly than Badlay, Craig Walker joined the Communist Party and was, for the next five years a sitting Communist councillor.
He died in 1969.
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