Cecil John L’Estrange Malone – UK’s First Communist MP


Lt. Col. Cecil John L’Estrange Malone – 1925

Lt. Col. Cecil John L’Estrange Malone not only served as an officer in the Royal Navy in the early 1900’s, he was also amongst the first few to learn how to fly early military aircraft (gaining his Royal Aero Certificate in 1912), becoming a pioneer of naval aviation.  He also served in the British Army where he reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and during during WWI he was a Commander in the Royal Navy and eventually awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE). His extraordinary military career spanned the Royal Navy (RN), the Royal Navy Air Service (RNAS), the Royal Airforce (RAF) and the British Army.   In the 1918 British General Election, Lt. Col. Cecil John L’Estrange Malone was elected Coalition Liberal MP for East Leyton.  He travelled to the Soviet Union during September, 1919, (whilst the UK was still involved with the USA and many other countries, attempting to destroy Bolshevism during the Russian Civil War), and met with many leading lights (including the then Bolshevik supporter Leon Trotsky) who showed him around the factories, villages and cities, where he witnessed first-hand the transformation that Communism had brought to the Russian people. This experience converted him to the Marxist-Leninist cause, and upon his return to the UK, he joined the British Socialist Party which soon transformed into the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). Lt. Col. Cecil John L’Estrange Malone appears to have left the Liberal cause and formally presented himself to Parliament as a ‘Communist’ in 1920.  In this sense, he became the first ‘Communist’ MP in the UK by default.  However, in the 1922 General Election, ‘Communists’ campaigning as Labour Party candidates would win two more seats by popular vote.  He spent much of his time calling for Russia to be left alone by the Western capitalists, and attempting to affiliate the Bolshevik Communist Party of Great Britain with the Parliamentary Labour Party – but failed to achieve this objective.  Lt. Col. Cecil John L’Estrange Malone gave a speech at the Albert Hall on November 7th, 1920, defending the Bolshevik Revolution and stating that the working class had a right to defend itself from the military forces of the bourgeoisie – killing those forces in self-defence if need be.  For this he was charged with, (and found guilty of) sedition, stripped of his OBE and imprisoned for six months.  What decided his fate was that he said that executing people like the rightwing Winston Churchill (and others) would be beneficial in the long-run for the working class.  Not long after this, Lt. Col. Cecil John L’Estrange Malone left the CPGB and joined the Independent Labour Party (affiliated to the Parliamentary Labour Party).  He failed to win a parliamentary seat in the 1924 General Election, but was returned to Parliament as a Labour MP for Northampton in the 1928 By-Election.  As he was considered an important historical figure within the British Communist Movement, the British Battalion of leftwing volunteers during the Spanish Civil War was named after him.  The following Times Obituary deliberately omits the details of Lt. Col. Cecil John L’Estrange Malone’s conversion to the Communist cause, his visit to the USSR, and the fact that he was the first Communist MP in the UK – but instead paints an entirely false bourgeois picture for its conservative-minded readers:


 Further reading:


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