James William Cleland

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James William Cleland

James William Cleland (1874–21 October 1914)[1] was a Scottish Liberal Party politician and Barrister.


He was born in Glasgow in 1874, the son of Charles Cleland, a manufacturer. He was educated at the Glasgow Academy before moving south to complete his education at Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated with honours in the School of Jurisprudence. In 1897, whilst at University he became President of the Oxford Union.[2]


In 1899 he was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in London.[2] He returned to his native Glasgow to contest the 1900 General Election as Liberal candidate for Bridgeton, but was unsuccessful;

General Election 1900: Glasgow Bridgeton [3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Charles Scott Dickson 5,032
Liberal James William Cleland 4,041
Conservative hold Swing

He returned to London and soon became active in politics in London and in 1901 he was elected to the London County Council for the Liberal backed Progressive Party, representing Lewisham. As part of the ruling administration, he was appointed Chairman of Parks and Establishment Committees.[2] In 1903 he stood for parliament as Liberal candidate at the Lewisham by-election, finishing second;

Lewisham by-election, 1903
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Edward Coates 7,709
Liberal James William Cleland 5,697
Majority 2,012
Turnout 12,406
Conservative hold Swing

After this unsuccessful attempt, he was re-elected in 1904 to the London County Council, again for Lewisham. In 1906 he again returned to his native Glasgow to contest the 1906 General Election as Liberal candidate for Bridgeton and was elected;

General Election 1906: Glasgow Bridgeton [4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal James William Cleland 5,585 58.2
Conservative Rt Hon. Charles Scott Dickson 4,019 41.8
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing

In 1907 he did not seek re-election to the London County Council so that he could concentrate on his parliamentary duties. After one full parliamentary term, he sought re-election and was successful;

General Election Jan 1910: Glasgow Bridgeton
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal James William Cleland 5,336
Conservative Patrick Keith Lang 3,539
Liberal hold Swing

He chose not to defend his seat at the December 1910 General Election and did not stand for parliament again.

He remained single throughout his life and died in 1914 at the age of 40.[2]


  1. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "B" (part 5)[self-published source][better source needed]
  2. ^ a b c d Who'sWho
  3. ^ Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench, 1901
  4. ^ Whitaker's Almanack, 1907


Who's Who; http://www.ukwhoswho.com

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Dickson
Member of Parliament for Glasgow Bridgeton
1906December 1910
Succeeded by
Alexander MacCallum Scott