Sanders started work at the age of 11, eventually becoming a lecturer. He was involved in socialist politics from 1888 when he joined the Social Democratic Federation, later becoming Secretary of the Fabian Society.
He first attempted to enter parliament for Labour at Portsmouth in 1906 and 1910 without success. During the First World War he served in Europe, attaining the rank of captain.
At the 1929 general election he was elected member of parliament for Battersea North. He lost the seat two years later, but regained it at the 1935 general election. He resigned his seat in April 1940
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