Edinburgh East by-election, 1909

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The Edinburgh East by-election was a Parliamentary by-election. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post voting system.


Sir George McCrae had been Liberal MP for the seat of Edinburgh East since the Edinburgh East by-election, 1899. He resigned from the House of Commons to take up a position in Scottish government service, accepting the appointment of Vice-President of the Scottish Local Government Board.[1]

Electoral history[edit]

The seat had been won by a Liberal at every election since it was created in 1885. They easily held the seat at the last election, with an increased majority;

General Election January 1906[2] Electorate 11,572
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal George McCrae 6,606 73.1
Conservative Rankin Dawson 2,432 26.9
Majority 4,174 46.2
Turnout 78.1
Liberal hold Swing


The local Liberal Association selected 60-year-old James Gibson to defend the seat. He had been Lord Provost, of Edinburgh since 1906. The Conservatives selected 29-year-old Patrick Ford as their candidate.


Polling Day was fixed for 16 April 1909.


The Liberal majority was only a ninth of their 1906 result. This was generally ascribed to the loss of the Roman Catholic vote because of the failure to settle the education question.;[3]

James Gibson
Edinburgh East by-election, 1909[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal James Puckering Gibson 4,527 52.7 -20.4
Liberal Unionist Patrick Johnstone Ford 4,069 47.3 +20.4
Majority 5.4 -40.8
Turnout 73.4 -4.7
Liberal hold Swing -20.4


General Election January 1910[5] Electorate 12,544
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Sir James Puckering Gibson 6,760 61.3 +8.6
Liberal Unionist Patrick Johnstone Ford 4,273 38.7 -8.6
Majority 2,487 22.6
Turnout 88.0 +14.6
Liberal hold Swing +8.6


  1. ^ Edmund Burke, The Annual Register of World Events: A Review of the Year; Longmans, Green, 1910
  2. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918
  3. ^ A Liberal Chronicle: Journals and Papers of J.A. Pease
  4. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918
  5. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918