Combined Scottish Universities by-election, 1938

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The Combined Scottish Universities by-election, 1938 was a by-election held from 21 February to 25 February 1938 for the Combined Scottish Universities, a university constituency of the British House of Commons.


The seat had become vacant when the National Labour Member of Parliament (MP) (and former Prime Minister), Ramsay MacDonald had died on 9 November 1937, aged 71. He had held the seat since the by-election in 1936, having held several other seats since he was first elected to Parliament at the 1906 general election.


The parties in the National Government did not usually stand candidates against each other, and since in this case the seat was held by National Labour, there was no Unionist of National Liberal candidate.

The National Government supported a "National" candidate Sir John Anderson, a former civil servant who had been Governor of Bengal from 1932 to 1937.

The Scottish National Party candidate was Andrew Dewar Gibb, the Regius Professor of Law at Glasgow University who had also contested the by-election in 1936. Two other candidates stood as independents.


The result was a victory for Anderson (the National candidate), won nearly 50% of the votes, the remainder being quite evenly between the other candidates. He held the seat until the university constituencies were abolished for the 1950 general election.


Combined Scottish Universities by-election, 21-25 February 1938
Party Candidate Votes % ±
National Sir John Anderson 14,042 48.8 −7.7
Independent Frances H. Melville 5,618 19.5 N/A
SNP Andrew Dewar Gibb 5,246 18.2 −12.9
Independent Progressive Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell 3,868 13.5 N/A
Majority 8,424 29.3 +3.9
Turnout 52.1 −2.7
National hold Swing

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