Alfred Jephcott

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Alfred Roger Jephcott JP (14 February 1853 – 14 March 1932)[1] was an English engineer, trade unionist and Conservative Party politician from Birmingham. He sat in the House of Commons from 1918 to 1929.

Early life and family[edit]

Jephcott was born in Coventry to working class parents;[2] his father was Thomas Jephcott.[3] Having moved to Birmingham at an early age, he was educated at St Paul's School in Balsall Heath.[3]

In 1884 he married Lucy White, daughter of William White of Birmingham.[3]

Career[edit]

After leaving school, Jephcott took up an apprenticeship[2] as an engineering mechanic.[4] He joined the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, and was twice president of the Birmingham Trades Council.[4]

He served for a time of the school board and 1895 was elected to Birmingham City Council, of which he was the second-oldest member. He later became an alderman, and was appointed in 1904 as a Justice of the Peace (JP) in 1904.[4]

Parliament[edit]

He unsuccessfully contested Paisley at the December 1910 general election.[2][5]

By 1918 he was regarded as a leader of working-class conservatives in Birmingham,[6] and was selected as the Unionist candidate for the Yardley division of Birmingham.[6] Four candidates were expected to contest the seat, all City Council members, of whom two were aldermen, but only three candidates actually stood.[7] At the election in December 1918 Jephcott, who stood as a coalition Unionist[7] (i.e. a supporter of the coalition government led the Liberal David Lloyd George) won the seat with 56% of the votes, a majority of 18% over the Labour Party candidate alderman George Shann,[7] who died only three weeks after polling day.[8]

Jephcott was returned at a further three general elections, on each occasion facing only a Labour Party opponent. Before the 1923 election, The Times newspaper reported that Jephcott "should have no difficulty in retaining the seat",[9] but his majority was cut to 7%,[5] down from 16% in 1922.[5] At the 1924 election, The Times initially reported local doubts about Jephcott's ability to hold the seat,[10] but later expressed confidence in his chances,[11] and he held the seat with a majority only slightly reduced to 6.4%.[5]

He was not a frequent participant in debates in the Commons.[12] In May 1927, during a debate on the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Bill, Jephcott stated that the difficulties faced by trade unions arose from the fact that they "gave up industrial action and took to political action".[13] He said that he was ready to loyally support the Labour party in Parliament on industrial issues, but because he differed from the party on the disestablishment of the Church of England and on other matters he had not been allowed to be a Labour Party candidate.[14]

In November of the following year, Jephcott seconded the motion on the King's Speech to Parliament.[15] He was described at the time as "a strong constitionalist"[12] who had been a member of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers for over 40 years.[12]

Retirement[edit]

In July 1927 he announced his decision to retire when Parliament was dissolved, stating that at the age of 75 he felt it was time to make way for a younger man.[2] In November 1928 month he was knocked down by a motorcycle while crossing the High Street in Birmingham, and suffered a broken ankle.[16]

He did not contest the 1929 general election, when the seat was won by the Labour candidate Archibald Gossling.[7]

Jephcott died in Birmingham on 14 March 1932, aged 79.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "Y" [self-published source][better source needed]
  2. ^ a b c d "Unionist M.P.'S Decision To Retire". The Times (London). 23 July 1927. pp. 17, Col F. 
  3. ^ a b c Hesilridge, Arthur G. M. (1922). Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench 1922. London: Dean & Son. p. 88. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Alderman Jephcott". The Times (London). 16 March 1932. pp. 9, col B. 
  5. ^ a b c d Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 517. ISBN 0-900178-27-2. 
  6. ^ a b "The Election. Birmingham". The Times (London). 27 November 1918. p. 9, col G. 
  7. ^ a b c d Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 91. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. 
  8. ^ "News in Brief". The Times (London). 3 January 1919. pp. 3, col G. 
  9. ^ "Midland Unionist Citadel. Labour's Challenge". The Times (London). 27 November 1923. pp. 16, col C. 
  10. ^ "The Fight In The Country. Unionist Challenge At Birmingham". The Times (London). 11 October 1924. pp. 10, col D. 
  11. ^ "Election Campaign. "They Shall Not Pass.", Call To Unionists In Birmingham., Mr. Mosley's Methods". The Times (London). 29 October 1924. pp. 7, col A. 
  12. ^ a b c "Parliament. Work Of New Session., Finance And Local Government., Movers Of The Address". The Times (London). 26 October 1928. pp. 16, col A. 
  13. ^ "5 May 1927, vol 205". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (House of Commons). col. 1818–1822. .
  14. ^ "House Of Commons". The Times (London). 6 May 1927. pp. 8, col B. 
  15. ^ "House Of Commons: The King's Speech". The Times (London). 7 November 1928. pp. 9, col D. 
  16. ^ "News in Brief". The Times (London). 12 November 1928. pp. 13, col G. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley
19181929
Succeeded by
Archibald Gossling