Caithness (UK Parliament constituency)

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Caithness
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
17081918
Replaced by Caithness and Sutherland
Created from Caithness

Caithness was a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918.

From 1708 to 1832 Caithness and Buteshire were paired as alternating constituencies: one of the constituencies elected a Member of Parliament (MP) to one parliament, the other to the next. The areas which were covered by the two constituencies are quite remote from each other, Caithness in the northeast of Scotland and Buteshire in the southwest.

From 1832 to 1918 Caithness was represented continuously by its own MP.

Boundaries[edit]

From 1708 to 1832, the Caithness constituency covered the county of Caithness minus the parliamentary burgh of Wick, which was a component of the Tain Burghs constituency. In 1832, Wick retained its status as a parliamentary burgh and became a component of the Wick Burghs constituency.

By 1892, Caithness had become a local government county and, throughout Scotland, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, county boundaries had been redefined for all purposes except parliamentary representation. 26 years were to elapse before constituency boundaries were redrawn, by the Representation of the People Act 1918, to take account of new local government boundaries.

In 1918, the Caithness and Sutherland county constituency was created. The Caithness and Sutherland constituency was created to cover the county of Caithness and the county of Sutherland. The Wick Burghs constituency was abolished and two of its former components, Wick and Dornoch, were merged into the new Caithness and Sutherland constituency.

Members of Parliament[edit]

MPs 1708 to 1832[edit]

Election Member Party
1708 none
1710 Sir James Dunbar, 1st Baronet
1713 none
1715 Sir Robert Gordon, 4th Baronet
1722 none
1727 Sir Patrick Dunbar, 3rd Baronet (see Dunbar baronets)
1734 none
1741 Alexander Brodie
1747 none
1754 John Scott
1761 none
1768 Viscount Fortrose
1774 none
1780 John Sinclair Whig
1784 none
1790 Sir John Sinclair, Bt Whig
1796 none
1802 Sir John Sinclair, Bt Whig
1806 none
1807 Sir John Sinclair, Bt Whig
1811 George Sinclair Whig
1812 none
1818 George Sinclair Whig
1820 none
1826 James Sinclair
1830 none
1831 George Sinclair Whig

MPs 1832 to 1918[edit]

Election Member Party
1832 George Sinclair Liberal
1841 George Traill Liberal
1869 Sir John Sinclair, Bt Liberal
1885 Gavin Brown Clark Liberal/Crofters' Party
1900 Leicester Harmsworth Liberal
1918 constituency abolished

Elections[edit]

General Election 1868: Caithness-shire[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal George Traill 512 n/a
Maj. Horne 275 n/a
Caithness by-election, 1869[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Sir John George Tollemache Sinclair 432
James C. Traill 360

Elections in the 1880s[edit]

Gavin Clark
General Election 1885: Caithness-shire[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Independent Liberal 2,110 63.4
Liberal Clarence Granville Sinclair 1,218 36.6
Majority 892 26.8
Turnout 77.0
Independent Liberal gain from Liberal Swing
General Election 1886: Caithness-shire[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal 2,034 77.7 n/a
Liberal Unionist Robert Niven 584 22.3 n/a
Majority 1,450 55.4 n/a
Turnout 60.6
Liberal gain from Independent Liberal Swing n/a

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

General Election 1892: Caithness-shire[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal 2,134 75.5
Liberal Unionist Sir William James Bell 693 24.5
Majority 1,441 51.0
Turnout 71.8
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1895: Caithness-shire[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal 1,828 77.6
Liberal Unionist John Cowper 528 22.4
Majority 1,300 55.2
Turnout 59.3
Liberal hold Swing

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

General Election 1900: Caithness-shire[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Robert Leicester Harmsworth 1,189 37.5 n/a
Conservative David Patrick Henderson 1,161 36.7
Independent Liberal 673 21.3 n/a
Independent Liberal F.C. Auld 141 4.5 n/a
Majority 28 0.8
Turnout 78.3
Liberal hold Swing n/a
General Election 1906: Caithness-shire[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Robert Leicester Harmsworth 2,686 84.8 n/a
Conservative Sir Keith Alexander Fraser 483 15.2 -21.5
Majority 2,203 69.6
Turnout 77.5
Liberal hold Swing n/a

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election Jan 1910: Caithness-shire[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Robert Leicester Harmsworth 2,643 81.8 -3.0
Conservative Laurence Hugh Strain 590 18.2 +3.0
Majority 2,053 63.6 -6.0
Turnout 82.0
Liberal hold Swing -3.0
R.L. Harmsworth
General Election Dec 1910: Caithness-shire[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Robert Leicester Harmsworth 2,718 96.9
Independent Conservative Archibald Macleod 87 3.1 n/a
Majority 2,631 93.8
Turnout 66.8 -15.2
Liberal hold Swing

General Election 1914/15:

Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1915. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by July 1914, the following candidates had been selected;

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Debrett's House of Commons, 1870
  2. ^ a b Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench, 1889
  3. ^ Whitaker's Almanack, 1893
  4. ^ a b Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench, 1901
  5. ^ Whitaker's Almanack, 1907
  6. ^ a b Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench, 1916

Sources[edit]