James Kiley

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James Daniel Kiley (1865 – 12 September 1953)[1] was a British businessman and Liberal Party politician who served in the House of Commons from 1916 to 1922 as a Member of Parliament (MP) for constituencies in the Whitechapel area[1] of the East End of London.[2]

A director of a warehouse company in Houndsditch, he entered politics in 1910, when he was elected to Stepney Borough Council, becoming an alderman in 1913 and serving as the borough's mayor in 1915.[2][3] He was also a member of the Metropolitan Water Board from 1914 to 1922, and a justice of the peace from 1913.[2][3]

During the First World War there was a political truce between the parties, who agreed not to contest any by-elections caused by death or resignations of sitting members of parliament. When a vacancy occurred with the resignation of the Liberal MP Sir Stuart Samuel, Bt in December 1916, Kiley was elected unopposed as the MP for the Whitechapel division of Stepney.[4][5][6] The Whitechapel constituency was abolished in boundary changes for the 1918 general election, and Kiley was elected for the new Whitechapel and St Georges division of Stepney.[7] He held the seat despite his Conservative Party opponent having received the coalition coupon, but with both Labour and Conservative candidates winning over 28% of the votes, Kiley's victory was obtained with only 35% of the votes.[8] (The fourth candidate, an independent won 7%).[8]

However, at the 1922 general election, when he faced only Labour and Conservative opponents, Kiley lost the seat to the Labour Party candidate Charles Mathew by a majority of 2.8%.[8] He stood again at the by-election in February 1923 after Mathew's death, but lost by a wider margin,[8][9] and was unsuccessful again at the general election in December 1923.[8] He did not stand for Parliament again.[8]

He continued in business, eventually becoming chairman of Whyte Ridsdale and Company Limited, a leading firm of fancy goods and toy merchants. He was a forceful proponent of free trade both in politics and business, opposing tariffs or other restrictions.[2]


  1. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "W" (part 3)[self-published source][better source needed]
  2. ^ a b c d "Obituary: Mr J. D. Kiley". The Times. 17 September 1953. p. 10. 
  3. ^ a b Hesilridge, Arthur G. M. (1922). Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench 1922. London: Dean & Son. 
  4. ^ "New Member For Whitechapel". The Times. 29 December 1916. p. 3. 
  5. ^ "No. 29888". The London Gazette. 2 January 1917. p. 99. 
  6. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 57. ISBN 0-900178-27-2. 
  7. ^ "No. 31147". The London Gazette. 28 January 1919. p. 1363. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 53. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. 
  9. ^ "Whitechapel Held By Labour. Majority Of 2,200". The Times. 9 February 1923. p. 10. 

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Stuart Samuel, Bt
Member of Parliament for Whitechapel
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Whitechapel and St Georges
Succeeded by
Charles Mathew