Charles McCurdy

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For the American lawyer, diplomat and politician, see Charles J. McCurdy. For the American politician, see Charles McCurdy Mathias.
Charles McCurdy

Charles Albert McCurdy (13 March 1870 – 10 November 1941) was a British Liberal Member of Parliament and minister in the Lloyd George Coalition Government. He was made a member of the Privy Council in 1920.

Background[edit]

McCurdy was educated at Loughborough Grammar School and Pembroke College, Cambridge.[1]

Career[edit]

He then became a barrister. He was elected Member of Parliament for Northampton, then a two-member constituency, in 1910. He was returned in 1918 when it was reduced to a single-member seat, his former Liberal co-member Hastings Lees-Smith having sought election elsewhere and joined the Labour Party.

Coalition government[edit]

He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food Control from 1919 to 1920 and then Minister of Food Control in 1920. After the Ministry of Food Control was abolished in April 1921, he was appointed Coalition Liberal Chief Whip (officially 'Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury') in succession to Frederick Guest. Guest had held the position during the 1918 seat negotiations with the Unionists. Unlike Guest, McCurdy was more concerned with strengthening the Liberals part in the Coalition and took a much tougher line with the Unionists. A junior Unionist whip Robert Sanders, wrote in his diary that McCurdy was "a particularly bad-mannered fellow...the reverse...of Guest". McCurdy favoured a general election in January 1922 and the formation of a Centre Party made up of Liberals, moderate Conservatives and moderate Labour MPs. In March 1922, McCurdy wrote to Lloyd George claiming that one hundred Unionist MPs would defect if a Centre Party was formed. Lloyd George, however, decided to stay with the Coalition. He left office with Lloyd George when the Unionists ended the coalition in October 1922.

Liberal reunion[edit]

After the coalition ended, McCurdy favoured Liberal reunion. He was influential in drawing up the Liberals' manifesto for the 1923 general election, moving it further in a free trade direction. However, he was not returned at that election. He died in November 1941, aged 71, a month before his former co-member for Northampton, Hastings Lees-Smith.

McCurdy's niece, Margaret Wingfield, was an influential member of the Liberal Party, and eventually its President.

Electoral record[edit]

McCurdy
General Election 1906: Winchester [2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Guy Victor Baring 1,322 51.0 -10.3
Liberal Charles Albert McCurdy 1,272 49.0 +10.3
Majority 50 2.0 -20.6
Turnout 87.0 +5.4
Conservative hold Swing -10.3
General Election January 1910: Northampton[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Hastings Bertrand Lees-Smith 5,398 23.3
Liberal Charles Albert McCurdy 5,289 22.9
Conservative Richard Rouse Boughton Orlebar 4,569 19.8
Conservative Frederick Gorell Barnes 4,464 19.3
Social Democratic Federation James Gribble 1,792 7.7
Social Democratic Federation Henry Quelch 1,617 7.0
Majority 720 3.1
Turnout 92.7
Liberal hold Swing
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1918: Northampton[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Charles Albert McCurdy 18,010 62.7
Labour Walter Halls 10,735 37.3 n/a
Majority 7,275 25.4
Turnout 62.5
Liberal hold Swing n/a
Northampton by-election, 1920 [3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Coalition Liberal Charles McCurdy 16,650 55.6 -7.1
Labour Margaret Grace Bondfield 13,279 44.4 +7.1
Majority 3,371 11.2 -14.2
Turnout 67.1 +4.6
Coalition Liberal hold Swing -7.1
General Election 1922: Northampton[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
National Liberal Rt Hon. Charles Albert McCurdy 19,974 52.3 -3.3
Labour Margaret Grace Bondfield 14,498 37.9 -6.5
Liberal Henry Harvey Vivian 3,753 9.8 n/a
Majority 5,476 14.4 +3.2
Turnout 85.5
National Liberal hold Swing +1.6
General Election 1923: Northampton [3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Margaret Grace Bondfield 15,556 40.5 +2.6
Unionist John Veasy Collier 11,520 30.0 n/a
Liberal Rt Hon. Charles Albert McCurdy 11,342 29.5 n/a
Majority 4,036 10.5
Turnout 84.3
Labour gain from Liberal Swing n/a

References[edit]

  1. ^ "McCurdy, Charles Albert (MRDY888CA)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ a b British Parliamentary Election Results, 1885-1918, FWS Craig
  3. ^ a b c d British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Herbert Paul
John Greenwood Shipman
Member of Parliament for Northampton
January 19101923
With: Hastings Lees-Smith, 1910–1918
Succeeded by
Margaret Bondfield
Political offices
Preceded by
George Henry Roberts
Minister of Food Control
1920 – 1921
Office abolished
Preceded by
Frederick Guest
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
1921 – 1922
With: Leslie Wilson
Succeeded by
Leslie Wilson