Harry Barnes (Liberal politician)

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For other people named Harry Barnes, see Harry Barnes (disambiguation).
Harry Barnes in 1922

Maj. Harry Barnes (5 December 1870 – 12 October 1935) was a radical United Kingdom Liberal Party politician, architect and author specialising in housing and town planning.

He first stood for parliament in 1918 when he was selected as the Liberal candidate for Newcastle upon Tyne East. He had served as a Major in the Northumberland Fusiliers Voluntary Regiment. He had been the District Valuer for Newcastle upon Tyne from 1916-1918,[1] so knew the town well. The seat was a newly created constituency and his prospects of winning were helped when no Unionist opponent came forward and he was endorsed by the Coalition Government led by David Lloyd George;

General Election 1918: Newcastle upon Tyne East[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Harry Barnes 8,682 58.1 n/a
Labour Walter Hudson 5,195 34.7 n/a
NFDDSS John Thompson 1,079 7.2 n/a
Majority 3,487 23.4 n/a
Turnout 48.7 n/a

Despite being elected as a supporter of the government, Barnes resigned the Coalition Liberal Whip in November 1919 to take the opposition Liberal Whip.[3] In parliament Barnes was associated with the more radical wing of the Liberals, due to his support for a number of social reforms.[4] In particular he favoured the introduction of a Capital levy which in 1919 put him at odds with the caretaker Liberal Leader Sir Donald Maclean. Radical Liberals had proposed a Commons motion to introduce a capital levy which MacLean had failed to support. Barnes publically criticised MacLean at that year's National Liberal Federation conference.[5]

He was strong supporter of Free Trade and served as Honorary secretary of the Cobden Club from 1920-1924.[6] At the 1922 election he sought re-election again as the official Liberal candidate. Although he did not have a Unionist opponent, he found he was also opposed by a National Liberal supporter of the recently deposed Prime Minister, Lloyd George. This had the effect of splitting the Liberal vote with unfortunate consequencies;

General Election 1922: Newcastle upon Tyne East[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Joseph Nicholas Bell 10,084 43.1 +8.4
Liberal Harry Barnes 6,999 30.0 -28.1
National Liberal Gilbert Stone 6,273 26.9 n/a
Majority 3,085 13.1 36.5
Turnout 73.7 +25.0
Labour gain from Liberal Swing

In December 1922 his successful Labour opponent died causing a by-election. He was again selected as the Liberal candidate. By then relations between Lloyd George and Asquith were improving and he faced no National Liberal candidate. However, a Unionist candidate intervened in the by-election with the same effect;

Newcastle-upon-Tyne East by-election, 1923[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Rt Hon. Arthur Henderson 11,066 45.7 +2.6
Liberal Harry Barnes 6,682 27.6 -2.4
Unionist Robert Gee 6,480 26.7 n/a
Majority 4,384 18.1 +5.0
Turnout 76.4 +2.7
Labour hold Swing +2.5

He decided to try his luck elsewhere and stood in Tynemouth at the 1923 general election. Tynemouth had been a Unionist seat since they gained it from the Liberals in 1918. He did well, but not quite well enough;

General Election 1923: Tynemouth[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Alexander West Russell 9,612 41.0 -7.1
Liberal Harry Barnes 9,008 38.3 +9.3
Labour William Pitt 4,875 20.7 -2.2
Majority 604 2.7 16.4
Turnout 81.1 -2.4
Unionist hold Swing -8.2

He contested Tynemouth again at the 1924 election, but in a difficult year for the Liberal Party his return to parliament was again thwarted;

General Election 1924: Tynemouth[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Alexander West Russell 11,210 45.2 +4.2
Liberal Harry Barnes 6,820 27.4 -10.9
Labour J. Stuart Barr 6,818 27.4 +6.7
Majority 4,390 17.8 +15.1
Turnout 84.6 +3.5
Unionist hold Swing +7.5

He was also involved in local government politics in London. He served as an Alderman on the London County Council from 1923–1925, for the Liberal backed Progressive Party.[11]

In September 1927 Barnes was selected as Liberal prospective parliamentary candidate for the Unionist seat of Warwick and Leamington.[12] However, he was not called upon to contest the seat at an election. In 1928, Barnes instead contested a July by-election in the West Yorkshire seat of Halifax, following the resignation of the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Henry Whitley, who had represented the seat as Liberal since 1900. This seemed to represent his best chance of returning to parliament but he was to be disappointed;

Halifax by-election, 1928[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Arthur Longbottom 17,536 42.8 n/a
Liberal Harry Barnes 12,585 30.8 n/a
Unionist F. S. Crossley 10,804 26.4 n/a
Majority 4,951 12.0 n/a
Turnout 40,925 78.7 n/a
Labour gain from Liberal Swing n/a

He did not stand for Parliament again.

At the 1934 LCC Elections he stood as a Labour candidate at Fulham East and was elected. He served as Chairman of the LCC's Town Planning Committee. However, he served on the LCC for little more than a year before his death.[14]

Publications[edit]

He had published a number of publications on social matters;[15]

  • Housing, the Facts and the Future, 1923
  • The Architect in Practice, 1924
  • A National Municipal House Service, 1924
  • Rating and Valuation, 1928
  • The Slum, its Story and Solution, 1931
  • The Rating of Coal Mines, 1933

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Debrett's House of Commons, 1922
  2. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  3. ^ "Major Harry Barnes." Times [London, England] 14 Oct. 1935: 20. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 18 Aug. 2014.
  4. ^ The Downfall of the Liberal Party 1914-1935 by Trevor Wilson
  5. ^ Manchester Guardian, 28 novemeber 1919
  6. ^ ‘BARNES, Major Harry’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014 accessed 18 Aug 2014
  7. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  8. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  9. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  10. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  11. ^ ‘BARNES, Major Harry’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014 accessed 18 Aug 2014
  12. ^ Western Daily Press, Bristol 26 Sep 1927
  13. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  14. ^ "Major Harry Barnes." Times [London, England] 14 Oct. 1935: 20. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 18 Aug. 2014.
  15. ^ ‘BARNES, Major Harry’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014 accessed 18 Aug 2014


Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne East
19181922
Succeeded by
Joseph Bell