East Down (UK Parliament constituency)

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East Down
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
18851922
Replaced by Down
Created from Down, Downpatrick

East Down was a UK Parliament constituency in Ireland which returned one Member of Parliament from 1885 to 1922, using the first past the post electoral system.

Boundaries and Boundary Changes[edit]

This county constituency was first created in 1885 from the eastern part of Down. It was defined as including 'The Baronies of Dufferin, Kinelarty, Lecale Lower and Lecale Upper, and the Barony of Castlereagh Upper (except so much as is comprised in Division No. 1, as herein described)'.[1] There was a boundary change reducing the size of this division in 1918, when the new Mid Down constituency was created, and East Down was redefined as including 'The rural district of Downpatrick, exclusive of the district electoral divisions of Ballynahinch, Kilmore and Leggygowan; the part of the rural district of Kilkeel which consists of the district electoral divisions of Bryansford, Fofanny and Maghera, and the part of the rural district of Banbridge which consists of the district electoral divisions of Ballyward, Crossgar and Leitrim.'.[2] Maps showing the component units of the constituency can be seen here.

Prior to the United Kingdom general election, 1885 and after the dissolution of Parliament in 1922 the area was part of the Down constituency.

Politics[edit]

The constituency had an anti-unionist majority in 1918, but its support was split fairly evenly between Nationalist and Sinn Féin candidates. An attempt at a limited electoral pact broke down in this constituency. In a first past the post election this situation produced a minority Unionist win.

The First Dáil[edit]

Sinn Féin contested the general election of 1918 on the platform that instead of taking up any seats they won in the United Kingdom Parliament, they would establish a revolutionary assembly in Dublin. In republican theory every MP elected in Ireland was a potential Deputy to this assembly. In practice only the Sinn Féin members accepted the offer.

The revolutionary First Dáil assembled on 21 January 1919 and last met on 10 May 1921. The First Dáil, according to a resolution passed on 10 May 1921, was formally dissolved on the assembling of the Second Dáil. This took place on 16 August 1921.

In 1921 Sinn Féin decided to use the UK authorised elections for the Northern Ireland House of Commons and the House of Commons of Southern Ireland as a poll for the Irish Republic's Second Dáil. This area, in republican theory, was incorporated in an eight-member Dáil constituency of Down.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member Party
1885 Richard William Blackwood Ker Conservative
1886 Unionist
1890 by-election James Alexander Rentoul Unionist
1902 by-election James Wood Russellite Unionist
1906 James Craig Unionist
1918 David Douglas Reid Unionist
1922 constituency abolished

Elections[edit]

Richard William Blackwood Ker was elected unopposed when the constituency was created in 1885.[3]

General Election 1886: East Down[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard William Blackwood Ker 5,093 66.5 N/A
H McGrath 2,561 33.5 N/A
Majority 2,532 33 N/A
Turnout 7,654 N/A
Conservative hold Swing N/A

James Alexander Rentoul was elected unooposed in a by-election in May 1890, and re-elected unopposed in 1892, 1895 and 1900.[3]

1902 by-election: East Down[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Russellite Unionist James Wood 3,576 51 N/A
Irish Unionist Colonel Wallace 3,429 49 N/A
Majority 147 2 N/A
Turnout 7,005 N/A
Russellite Unionist gain from Irish Unionist Swing N/A
General Election 1918: East Down
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist David Douglas Reid 6,007 42.3 N/A
Irish Parliamentary Michael J. Johnston 4,312 30.4 N/A
Sinn Féin Dr Russell McNabb 3,876 27.3 N/A
Majority 1,695 11.9 N/A
Turnout 14,195 79.5 N/A
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A

References[edit]

  1. ^ Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, (Ch 23) Seventh Schedule, Part III - Ireland - County of Down
  2. ^ Redistribution of Seats (Ireland) Act, 1918, (Ch 65) Fourth Schedule,
  3. ^ a b c "Election intelligence". The Times (36652). London. 31 December 1901. p. 4. 
  4. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36685). London. 7 February 1902. p. 8. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]