George Cunningham (politician)

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George Cunningham (born 10 June 1931) is a British politician.

Early life[edit]

Cunningham was educated at Dunfermline High School, Blackpool Grammar School and the University of Manchester. He worked for the Labour Party as their Commonwealth officer.

Political career[edit]

Cunningham contested Henley at the 1966 general election as the Labour candidate. He was originally elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Islington South West from the 1970 general election. After boundary changes, he was elected for Islington South and Finsbury at the February 1974 election.

Cunningham strongly opposed Scottish devolution. At his prompting, the House accepted an amendment to the 1978 Scotland Act that a majority voting "yes" in the devolution referendum would have to constitute at least 40% of the Scottish electorate. As expected, the threshold wasn't achieved.

Social Democratic Party[edit]

In November 1981, Cunningham resigned from the Labour Party and sat as an independent Labour MP, before becoming one of the later ex-Labour defectors to the newly founded Social Democratic Party in June 1982. Cunningham lost his seat by just 363 votes (1%) at the 1983 general election to Labour candidate Chris Smith. He contested the seat again at the 1987 general election when he lost by a similar narrow margin (the only defecting former Labour MP to come close to regaining his seat that year). He has not re-entered the House of Commons since.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Albert Evans
Member of Parliament for Islington South West
19701974
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Islington South and Finsbury
19741983
Succeeded by
Chris Smith