Frederick Wolfe Astbury

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Lieutenant-Commander Frederick Wolfe Astbury (21 April 1872 – 28 December 1954) was a British businessman and Conservative politician.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was the son of Frederick James Astbury JP of Hilton Park, Prestwich, near Manchester.[1] He entered business as a calico printer, and was a director the Manchester Chamber of Commerce.[1][2] During the First World War he volunteered for service in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, recruiting for the Royal Navy.[2]

Member of parliament for Salford West[edit]

At the 1918 general election he was elected as Conservative member of parliament for Salford West. He was re-elected at the next election in 1922.[2] In the following year the prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, called an election on the issue of tariff reform. Astbury was regarded as having a very safe seat.[3] However, the election saw a large electoral advance by the Labour Party, who gained all three Salford constituencies. Astbury was unseated by Labour's Alexander Haycock.[4] Following the election, a minority Labour government under Ramsay MacDonald was formed. The administration collapsed in the following year, necessitating a further general election. Astbury regained the seat, benefitting from a large nationwide swing to the Conservatives.[5] At the next election in 1929 the situation was reversed, there was a swing to Labour, which became the largest party in the Commons for the first time and Astbury was unseated by Haycock for a second time.[6] By the time of the next general election in 1931 a National Government had been formed. Haycock and the majority of the Labour Party MPs refused to support the government. Astbury, running as a "National" Conservative, regained the seat.[7]

Resignation of National Government whip[edit]

In May 1935 Astbury was one of five Conservative MPs who resigned the National Government whip. They felt they could no longer support the government over their failure to impose quotas or prohibitions on imports of textile goods from India and Burma, threatening the commerce of Lancashire. The group also felt that the National Government, supported in the main by Conservative members, had passed too much "Socialist" legislation, such as that creating the London Passenger Transport Board.[8] He was summoned to a meeting of the West Salford Conservative and Unionist Association to explain his position, having first organised a meeting of his constituents which unanimously approved his actions.[9][10] A decision on whether he would be adopted as the Conservative candidate at the next election was avoided when he announced he would not be seeking re-election due to poor health.[11]

References[edit]

Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs [self-published source][better source needed]

  1. ^ a b c Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench illustrated with 500 armorial engravings. London: Dean & Son. 1918. p. 5. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "The General Election. First Returns". The Times. 16 November 1922. p. 6. 
  3. ^ "Triangular Fights in Manchester". The Times. 27 November 1923. p. 16. There is no apprehension as to the return of... Commander Astbury.. 
  4. ^ "The General Election. First Returns". The Times. 7 December 1923. p. 7. 
  5. ^ "First Polls. Many Unionist Gains". The Times. 30 October 1924. p. 14. 
  6. ^ "The General Election: Labour Gains in the North". The Times. 31 May 1929. p. 16. 
  7. ^ "The Election. National Gains Everywhere". The Times. 28 October 1931. p. 12. 
  8. ^ "Government Whip Declined. Five Conservative Members. Disagreement on Policies". The Times. 24 May 1935. p. 18. 
  9. ^ "Conservative M.P. to Meet his Executive". The Times. 25 May 1935. p. 14. 
  10. ^ "News in Brief". The Times. 1 June 1935. p. 16. 
  11. ^ "Ready for the Election. Selected candidates. Position in Manchester and Salford". The Times. 26 October 1935. p. 18. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir George Agnew
Member of Parliament for Salford West
19181923
Succeeded by
Alexander Haycock
Preceded by
Alexander Haycock
Member of Parliament for Salford West
19241929
Succeeded by
Alexander Haycock
Preceded by
Alexander Haycock
Member of Parliament for Salford West
19311935
Succeeded by
James Frederick Emery