Westminster Abbey by-election, 1921

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Abbey in the Parliamentary County of London, showing boundaries used from 1918 to 1950.

The Westminster Abbey by-election, 1921 was a parliamentary by-election held on 25 August 1921 for the British House of Commons constituency of Westminster Abbey in London. The seat had become vacant when the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) William Burdett-Coutts had died on 28 July 1921. Burdett-Coutts had held the seat since it had been created for the 1918 general election, when he had been returned unopposed.

General Election, 14 December 1918
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Coalition Conservative William Burdett-Coutts Unopposed N/A N/A
Conservative hold Swing N/A

Candidates[edit]

The Conservative candidate, John Nicholson. The Liberal candidate Arnold Lupton had been a MP from 1906 to January 1910.

British Pathe hold newsreel footage of the three candidates handing in their nomination papers; http://www.britishpathe.com/video/all-anti-wasters/query/antiwaste

Campaign[edit]

At the time the Anti-Waste League was active, and all three candidates claimed to be anti-waste. The League was formed to advance the political ambitions of the newspaper owner Lord Rothermere. He is known in particular, with his brother Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, for the development of the British newspapers Daily Mail and Daily Mirror - he was a pioneer of popular journalism. The objects of the League were to insist upon measures being taken to restore the country to solvency, urge a wholesale reduction of expenditure, fight the battle of local rates and oppose sham Anti-Waste candidates. There was a growing element both inside and outside the Conservative element of the Coalition Government, that opposed the post-war reconstruction methods adopted by Lloyd George and other leading Liberals in the coalition, notably Christopher Addison, who as Housing Minister had introduced a series of measures to enable local councils to build Council houses. These measures were funded by higher taxation and in accordance with Lloyd George's aim to build a "Land Fit for Heroes".

Result[edit]

The Conservative candidate won the election, but the Anti-Waste League, whose candidate Reginald Applin polled respectably.

Westminster Abbey By-Election, 1921
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative John Nicholson 6,204 43.6 N/A
Anti-Waste League Reginald Applin 5,874 34.9 N/A
Liberal Arnold Lupton 3,053 21.5 N/A
Majority 1,234 8.7 N/A
Turnout 36,952 38.5 N/A
Conservative hold Swing N/A

Aftermath[edit]

Nicholson remained the constituency's MP until his death in 1924, when a further by-election was held. Applin became the Conservative MP for Enfield in 1924

General Election, 15 November 1922
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative John Nicholson 13,620 75.6 +32.0
Labour Joseph Butler 2,454 13.6 +13.6
Independent Sydney Drury-Lowe 1,950 10.8 +10.8
Majority 11,166 62.0 +53.3
Turnout 36,763 49.0 +10.5
Conservative hold Swing N/A

References[edit]