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Lansbury, George

(1859-1940). British statesman who joined the Theosophical Society (TS) in 1914 and was a strong supporter of Annie Besant. Lansbury was born on February 21, 1859, near Halesworth, Suffolk, England. He was elected member of parliament for Bow and Bromley in 1910, but he resigned in 1912 to fight a by-election as a woman’s suffrage candidate and was defeated. In 1912 he joined others and launched The Daily Herald, a national socialist newspaper of which he was for a time editor. During 1919-20 he was mayor of Poplar and under his leadership the Council refused to raise the rates (local tax), on the grounds that it would be an intolerable burden on the poor. As a result he and others were imprisoned for a term, but later they were released following popular outcry. Elected again to parliament in 1922, he held the seat until his death in 1940. He was leader of the British Labor Party 1931-35.

Encouraged by Besant, Lansbury supported the Home Rule for India movement and had a constant stream of Hindu callers to his house at Bow. He was appointed President of the British Branch of the Indian Home Rule League started by Besant. In 1924 Lansbury graced the platform when Besant gave an address to a London audience marking the completion by her of fifty years of public service. Lansbury joined The Order of the Star in the East in 1918 and attended some of the camps for followers of J. Krishnamurti; in 1924 he chaired a London lecture by Krishnamurti. Lansbury addressed the 1937 European Congress of the TS held in Copenhagen on the subject of peace and also visited both Hitler and Mussolini in a vain effort to avert the coming war. He died May 7, 1940.

Publications include: Your Part in Poverty; What I Saw in Russia — 1920; These Things Shall Be; My Life; My England, etc.


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