First up is the Derby by-election of December 1748,caused by the death of John Stanhope.
A Captain Thomas Stanhope, captain of a British Man of War appeared in the town and offered himself as a candidate. This did not go down at all well with the local traders and businessmen who took it upon themselves to come up with a candidate from among their own number. This was Thomas Rivet and he won by 382 votes to 311 for Stanhope
The newspapers noted that Rivet's triumph was all the more amazing as "there was a great detatchment of voters from London" (presumably out voters) who came to support Stanhope and also "a deadweight of upward of 160 Bastard burgesses out of the P---K and elsewhere".
The Stanhopes were of course, the Earls of Chesterfield and had presumably paid for all of the out voters to travel to Derby. The "Bastard burgesses" were "domesticks, tenants and other dependents" who the paper implies were only able to vote because of their employment relationship with the Stanhopes. Voting was something that presumably should be left to those who really had money enough to exercise their franchise.
Rivet sat as a Whig btw, and was later High Sheriff of Derbyshire and Mayor of Derby.
Absolutely love it,but can you translate P---k, please?
Unfortunately not with any certainty as the gaps were inserted by the original writer in the eighteenth century. My guess would be Park or something like that in reference to the estate of the Earls of Chesterfield?
I hope one of them is going to involve Peartree ward in Welwyn Hatfield
In December 1912 public meetings were held in Dublin in support of the Larkinite candidate for the New Kilmainham ward of Dublin City Corporation, Mr W P Partridge. He was elected over his opponent who was described as a "Protestant Home Ruler".
The papers noted that several forms of "locomotion" were used to convey voters to the polls but that the car was most popular "and many amusing incidents arose in bringing up aged ladies who revelled in the luxury of an up to date car". There was also keen anticipation of what suffragette activity might take place (given campaigns in the previous year) and recorded that there were around ten thousand women voters in the city - "how they exercised the privilege of the franchise was awaited with great interest"
The election of 1910 was held from December 3rd to December 19th.
On December 13th Sir John Jardine Liberal MP for Roxburghshire send out an electoral communication to the voters.
"An Elector" wrote to the Scotsman several days later expressing surprise that the baronet had not mentioned Home Rule. The writer opined that "It is curious he should have some reason to conceal his views on the subject" and then went on to offer a possible reason : "Is is that he realises that Home Rule means Rome rule and consequently a large influx of cheap Irish labour into the border districts in the shape of Protestant refugees". He went on to link this with the apparent prohibition of any questions at Jardine's election meetings.
Jardine was re-elected and the constituency was abolished for the 1918 election.
On December 19th 1967 Labour held the St Clements ward on Aberdeen Town council, and with it a 19-17 majority on the council.
However the winner Sydney Fyfe had a majority of only thirty over the SNP who were standing in the ward for the first time. Their candidate Alexander Macdonald was quoted as saying: "This result has proved that there is an upsurge of Scottish national feeling, not just nationally but locally". He added that "there is no question that at the next by-election the SNP will come out on top"
On a turnout of 22.7% the votes cast were as follows:
Sydney Fyfe (Labour) : 857 Alexander Macdonald (SNP) : 827 Alexander Farquarshon (Progressive) : 208 William Leitch (Liberal) : 108 David Munro (Communist) : 48 J Scott Machlachlan (Ind) : 31
Macdonald was both right and wrong. The Municipal elections in May 1968 saw the SNP gain a seat in the ward by the large majority of 486 votes, but when another by election came up in June Labour squeaked in by thirteen votes.
On a turnout of 32.7% the votes cast were as follows:
Robert Robertson (Labour) : 1462 John McKenna (SNP) : 1449 William Henderson (Communist) : 58
Mr Henderson said that the communists " had done a tremendous amount of canvassing and people were really concerned". For their troubles they managed to garner an extra ten votes.
The 1832 election was an historic contest for pretty obvious reasons and there was great enthusiasm in many places. In Bristol the reformed electorate numbered 10,315 and the poll commenced on December 12th.
The papers reported much enthusiasm and activity, one stating that "If a foreign enemy had effected a landing at one of the ports of the Bristol channel and a levy en masse of the inhabitants had been required to repel the invader, the scene could not have been one in which more ardour and energy could be evinced".
There were no less than three Whig candidates and one Tory and it was noted that the supporters of one of the former had quarrelled with the reform committee, and the "West India Whigs" had formed an alliance with the conservatives. As was usual in those days the running total of the vote was announced at regular intervals.
So Sir Richard Vyvyan had completed a notable triumph for the Tories and Mr Bailie appears to have made a late rush in on his coat tails. Protherhoe who had previously been MP for Evesham and went on to be MP for Halifax , had previously lost in Bristol in 1830 and was then elected unopposed with Baillie in 1831. He attributed his defeats to his opposition to slavery, which makes sense especially when you learn that Baillie was later compensated for the loss of slaves to the tune of £53,964. Vyvyan had previously been MP for Cornwall and Okehampton and, after Bristol, for Helston.
It was reported from Singapore in December 1957 that thirteen candidates of "far left" Action party had been elected to the city council. At least four of their newly elected councillors were arrested for letting off fire crackers on the steps of the council building but very quickly released.
The election was apparently a defeat for the ruling Conservative Liberal Socialists who sound like an interesting, if confused, bunch.
Post by David Ashforth on Nov 17, 2019 19:45:56 GMT
January 1896. Colonel William Henry Foster, the Conservative MP for Lancaster was in court on charges of "bribery, treating and other corrupt practices". There were 117 charges (of which 32 were struck out) including 26 cases of treating, 14 of bribery, 13 prohibited persons voting, and that Foster had offered voters employment at his mills in Queensbury.
To quote from newspapers (the same story is in various newspapers) on Wednesday 15 January 1896: “At Christmas, 1893, Colonel Foster issued Christmas cards — (laughter) — and on January 23rd, 1895, was present at a dance.”
Judgment was delivered on 24 January 1896, when all the charges against Foster were dismissed and the petitioners ordered to bear his costs. The crucial issue had been when Foster became a candidate; if the court had found that he was adopted earlier, then his expenses in promoting the Conservative Party in Lancaster before June 1895 should have been included in his election return.
On December 3rd 1930 there was a by election in the Whitechapel St Georges constituency caused by the death of Labour MP Harry Gosling who had himself been elected at a by election in 1923 caused by the death of Labour MP Charles Matthew who had only been the MP for seven weeks.
The seat was held for Labour by J H Hall who suffered a large swing to the Liberal candidate Barnett Janner. Janner won the seat at the 1931 general election, but Hall regained it in 1935, dying in 1942 and thereby causing yet another by election which was was won by Charles 'Stoker' Edwards , surely the only MP to have worked as a stoker in the navy during both World Wars. They don't make 'em like that any more.
The campaign was dominated by controversy over the issue of Jewish emigration to Palestine, and there was considerable disruption to election meetings. Several newspapers wondered if the women's vote would be the crucial factor as there were 19,000 women registered to vote in the constituency, a larger number than the total of male voters. Liberal meetings were generaly chaired by Miss Miriam Moses who had been considered as a candidate herself before Janner was selected. Moses suggested that women would largely vote as their "menfolk" voted, but Miss Megan Lloyd George disputed this saying that "it was always a great mistake to assume that women had not a mind of their own".
It was also noted that many women shop workers and seamstresses went straight to election meetings without time for an evening meal.
Harry Pollitt, who had become General Secretary of the Communist party in the previous year, stood for the party and polled over 2,000 votes. The Tory candidate Loel Guinness was later elected as the MP for Bath (1931-45)
In their edition of December 6th 1923 the newspaper "Justice" published an article entitled "The Fraudulent Election".
It maintained that the election was fraudulent for three reasons:
1. "Stanley Baldwin need not have forced a dissolution at this juncture".
2. The haste with which the election has been called "has almost bewildered the electorate by the wordy warfare it has called forth"
3. There was "culmulative evidence" that the "fiscal controversies" called forth by the election were part of a concerted attempt to revert to the old two party system and thus "stave off the danger of a Labour administration for a few years longer".
It noted that when Joseph Chamberlain had raised the issue of tariffs twenty years previouly, he had done so openly , to try and convince people of the virtue of abandoning free trade for protection. It asked if much of the rowdyism at election meetings was down to general indignation at a political fix.
The newspaper felt that Baldwin would return with a much reduced majority (they were wrong), that the Liberal party would increase its numbers : "If they went lower than last year they would be wiped out as a political party" but that they would not replace Labour as the official opposition, though "they may come near the doing of it". It further noted that "The chances of Labour candidates have improved decidedly in the past few weeks".
If Baldwin did lose his majority the paper noted that he wouldn't dare to drop protection but "would be unable to carry it through". Liberal unity would be shattered by Lloyd George taking the helm of a new coalition "and an attempt at a centre party made at the expense of the Tory and Liberal parties as they are once more". This would create an opportunity for the Labour party "such an opportunity as it has never yet had".
The next article noted that the Peruvian consul had called for companies to develop Peruvian coal resources which could then be exported to Europe due to their lower labour and infrastructure costs. Justice however offered the opinion that coal mining came at such a cost for both workers and employers (there had been a mining accident in Sheffield that week) that "Agriculture is far more essential". It was followed by a call for a referendum "as a means of avoiding such a political impasse as that with which the country is now threatened". Enough "intelligent propaganda" could be put out by all sides so that voters could then make an informed decision as to a change in fiscal policy.
Finally it noted that Lord Rothermere had apparently issued an instruction to all his newspapers to "be fair to all parties until further notice". Justice felt that further notice had indeed been given and Labour should consult its barrister members "with the object of seeing what action can be taken. Abuse we do not mind but such deliberate lying and misrepresentation deserve to be brought to account". The workers should therefore develop and support their own press.
Justice was the paper of the (originally Marxist) Social Democractic Federation lead by Hyndman. Its pro war faction had split away and taken "Justice" with it during the war , though tensions had been high since the re-naming of the SDF as the British Socialist Party in 1911. The "Justice' faction became the National Socialist party, re-joined Labour and re-named itself as the SDF all in the space of about seven years. The BSP morphed into the Communist party.
The editor at the time was Tom Kennedy, three times Labour MP for Kircaldy Burghs (1921-22, 1923-31, 1935-44). Justice's last editor William Sampson Cluse was elected as the first ever Labour MP for Islington South in 1923. Defeated in 1931, he returned in 1935 and served until 1950.
The Sun newspaper (no, not that one) in its edition of the 25th of December (!) 1801 contained a biography of Lord Hutchinson of Alexandria, formerly John Hely-Hutchinson MP for Cork City (1761-90).
It noted that during the election campaign of 1783 Sir John Conway Colthurst defamed Hely-Hutchison's father , such that he felt he had to "call the baronet to account", ie challenge him to a duel.
Colthurst chose to fight with swords, but Hely-Hutchison thought this was unfair as he (and others)accounted himself "one of the best swordsmen in the kingdom" and suggested they use pistols instead. A meeting took place, and friends of both men managed to persuade them to settle the matter without combat.
Hopefully there won't be anything like this after Thursday's results.
Last Edit: Dec 10, 2019 17:07:03 GMT by finsobruce
On Saturday 29th December 1838 The Birmingham Journal reported on the "Coporate Elections" (sic) that had just taken place. These were the first since the town had been incorporated as a municipal borough.
It stated that they had taken place "on Wednesday" which would imply December 26th (!), and furthermore that "a more decided expression of popular opinion never was envinced". It went on to note that every ward was contested by Tory candidates (possibly implying this was unusual?) and that every one of them was defeated. Voting started at nine in the morning and concluded at four in the afternoon with all the ballot boxes then being transported to the Town Hall where the Returning Officer Mr W.Schofield esq "examined" them and the results were declared.
It further noted that they had given the names of the disappointed candidates as well as those elected "for the sake of making the contrast more complete". It's almost like they were thinking of us.
So we kick off with the Lady Wood ward (two words)
Next result from the Birmingham Corporation elections of December 1838
All Saints ward
S.Shakespear 221 P H Muntz 158 F Matchett 135
T Lane 104 Beynon 65
It was noted that Mr Shakespear was "placed upon both lists" so Alls well that ends well in his case . Students of Birmingham politics will notice the Muntz name appearing. This is Philip Henry Muntz, son of a Lithuanian immigrant who had established a metal working business in Birmingham in the late eighteenth century. They had invented "Muntz metal" a brass alloy used on ongoing vessels. It made them very rich. Philip Henry became MP for Birmingham (1868- 1885) his brother George having been MP for Birmingham (1840-57). George's son Philip Albert was Tory MP for North Warwickshire (1884-85) and Tamworth (1885-1908).
The Muntz name can still be seen in Birmingham in Muntz Street and Muntz park. Muntz Street should be known to all Birmingham City supporters as it was the site of the third ground used by the fledgling club when they were successively Small Heath, Small Heath Alliance and Birmingham, although it was at the time of their tenancy known as Coventry Road.