Seaham (UK Parliament constituency)

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Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of members one

Seaham was a parliamentary constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was in existence between 1918 and 1950. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. Incorporating a lot of the mining area of the eastern part of County Durham around Seaham, it has a history of strong Labour Party support.


In the so-called Coupon Election of 1918, Major Evan Hayward was issued a Coalition 'coupon'. Hayward however repudiated the 'coupon' and stood as a Liberal and was elected. The following general election, in 1922, Sidney Webb, an early socialist and author of the Labour Party's then-new constitution, was returned. Webb was easily re-elected in 1923 and 1924. Sidney Webb was raised to the peerage and his successor in the parliamentary constituency was James Ramsay MacDonald, the leader of the Labour Party at the time. At the 1929 general election, MacDonald won and for the second time became Prime Minister over a minority Labour administration.

The economic crisis after 1929 led to a political crisis in mid-1931 and MacDonald failed to secure agreement in cabinet for his proposed cuts in 'outdoor relief' for the unemployed. MacDonald went to see King George V who persuaded him to form a National Government. In the General Election that followed MacDonald stood in Seaham as National Labour and was comfortably elected and continued to serve as a Prime Minister of a National Government that was predominantly Conservative-supported.

MacDonald retired as Prime Minister in 1935 but remained in the Cabinet. In the general election of 1935 he was resoundingly defeated at Seaham by Emanuel Shinwell, the official candidate of the Labour Party. Shinwell was re-elected in the Labour landslide at the 1945 election, and served as MP for Easington, the constituency that replaced Seaham after 1950.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member Party
1918 Evan Hayward Liberal
1922 Sidney Webb Labour
1929 Rt Hon Ramsay Macdonald Labour
1931 National Labour
1935 Manny Shinwell Labour
1950 constituency abolished

Election Results[edit]

General Election 1945: Seaham
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Manny Shinwell 42,942 80.08
Conservative MV MacMillan 10,685 19.92
Majority 32,257 60.15
Turnout 79.80
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1935: Seaham
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Manny Shinwell 38,380 68.22
National Labour Rt Hon Ramsay Macdonald 17,882 31.78
Majority 20,498 36.43
Turnout 86.32
Labour gain from National Labour Swing
General Election 1931: Seaham
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
National Labour Rt Hon Ramsay Macdonald 28,978 55.01
Labour William Coxon 23,027 43.71
Communist G. Lumley 677 1.29
Majority 5,951 11.30
Turnout 86.66
National Labour gain from Labour Swing
General Election 1929: Seaham
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Rt Hon Ramsay Macdonald
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1918

Electorate 58,353

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Maj. Evan Hayward 12,754
Labour John James Lawson 8,988
Majority 3,766
Liberal hold Swing
  • Hayward had been issued with the "coalition coupon", but repudiated it.


See also[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Constituency represented by the Prime Minister
Succeeded by