Cockermouth by-election, 1906

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The Cockermouth by-election, 1906 was a by-election held on 3 August 1906 for the British House of Commons constituency of Cockermouth.

Vacancy[edit]

The by-election was triggered by the death of the town's Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) Sir Wilfrid Lawson.

Electoral history[edit]

Sir Wilfrid Lawson, political postcard.jpg

At the last General Election in January, the result was;

General Election 1906 Cockermouth[1]

Electorate 11,700

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Sir Wilfrid Lawson 5,349 52.8 +4.1
Conservative Sir John Scurrah Randles 4,786 47.2 -4.1
Majority 563 5.6 8.2
Turnout 86.6 +10.0
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +4.1

Candidates[edit]

Freddie Guest

The Liberal candidate chosen to defend the seat was Captain Frederick Guest. 31 year old Guest was a former Conservative who had followed his cousin Winston Churchill, for whom he worked as private secretary, into the Liberal Party in 1904 in support of the policy of Free trade. At the previous General Election in January, he was Liberal candidate for Kingswinford where he came second.

The Conservative candidate was Sir John Randles, who had held the seat from 1900 until losing narrowly in the general election in January. 31 year old Randles was an industrialist in the coal and steel business.

Robert Smillie

There was also a third candidate, Robert Smillie of the Independent Labour Party. 49 year old Smillie, in 1893 was a founding member of the Independent Labour Party. He had been President of the Scottish Miners' Federation since 1894. He had stood unsuccessfully for parliament on a number of occasions since 1894. At the previous General Election in January, he was Labour candidate for Paisley when he came third.

Campaign[edit]

Randles during the campaign

Result[edit]

Turnout was only slightly down since the general election, when only two candidates had run, and although the Conservative vote fell slightly, the Liberals lost much more, probably due to the intervention of Smillie. The result was a gain for the Conservatives.[2]

Cockermouth by-election, 1906[3]

Electorate 11,700

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir John Scurrah Randles 4,593 46.2 -1.0
Liberal Frederick Edward Guest 3,903 39.3 -13.5
Ind. Labour Party Robert Smillie 1,436 14.5 n/a
Majority 690 6.9 12.5
Turnout 9,932 84.9 -1.7
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +6.2

Aftermath[edit]

Randles held the seat at the following General Election;

General Election January 1910 Cockermouth[4]

Electorate 11,328

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir John Scurrah Randles 4,579 45.2 -1.0
Liberal Sir Wilfrid Lawson 3,638 35.9 -3.4
Labour J.P. Whitehead 1,909 18.9 +4.4
Majority 941 9.3 +2.4
Turnout 89.4 +4.5
Conservative hold Swing +1.2

Sir John Randles lost the seat again in the December 1910 election, this time to Sir Wilfred Lawson, son of the former MP. Frederick Guest was eventually returned as a Member of Parliament for East Dorset in the January 1910 general election.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  2. ^ The Times, 6 August 1906
  3. ^ British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)
  4. ^ British parliamentary election results, 1885-1918 (Craig)