John Deans Hope

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J.D. Hope

John Deans Hope (8 May 1860 – 13 December 1949) was a Scottish Liberal politician.

Family and education[edit]

Hope was born in Duddington, Midlothian, the son of the late James Hope of Eastbarns, Dunbar, a famous agriculturalist. In 1899 he married Elizabeth Holmes-Kerr whose father had homes in Glasgow and Underbank in Ayrshire. They had one daughter. His brother, Sir Harry Hope, 1st Baronet, was the Unionist MP for Buteshire. Hope was educated at Fettes College and Edinburgh University.[1]


By profession Hope was a chartered accountant[2] and later became a stockbroker.[3] Hope was also a Justice of the Peace in Haddingtonshire.


Hope first stood for Parliament at West Perthshire at the 1895 general election but could not remove the sitting Liberal Unionist MP Sir Donald Currie.

1895 general election: Western Perthshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Unionist Sir Donald Currie 3,379
Liberal John Deans Hope 3,087
Liberal Unionist hold Swing

However he was successful in being returned as Liberal MP for West Fife in succession to Augustine Birrell in the Khaki election of 1900

General Election 1900: Fife West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Deans Hope 4,352 64.7
Conservative G W Ralston 2,374 35.3
Majority 1,978 29.4
Turnout 6,726 60.0 -12.2
Liberal hold Swing
General Election 1906: Fife West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Deans Hope 6,692 79.0
Liberal Unionist Nelson B Constable 1,776 21.0
Majority 4,916 58.0
Turnout 8,468 55.4 -4.6
Liberal hold Swing
General Election January 1910: Fife West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Deans Hope 6,159 47.8
Labour William Adamson 4,736 37.7
Conservative G W Ralston 1,994 15.5
Majority 1,423 11.1
Turnout 12,889 73.1 +17.7
Liberal hold Swing

and he held the seat until the general election of December 1910 when he lost to the Labour candidate William Adamson the Secretary of the Fife Miners’ Association.[4]

General Election December 1910: Fife West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour William Adamson 6,128 53.0
Liberal John Deans Hope 5,425 47.0
Majority 703 6.0
Turnout 11,553 61.4 -11.7
Labour gain from Liberal Swing

Return to Parliament[edit]

Hope did not have long to wait before getting the chance to return to Parliament as in 1911 the MP for Haddingtonshire, Richard Haldane, was made a Viscount and went to the House of Lords and Hope was chosen by the local Liberals to succeed him.[5] In the by-election that followed Hope emerged the winner with 3,652 votes to the 3,184 of the Unionist candidate B Hall Blyth – a respectable majority of 468 (albeit a decrease on the last election of over 200).

Haddingtonshire by-election, 1911: Electorate
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Deans Hope 3,652 53.4 -1.5
Conservative Benjamin Hall Blyth 3,184 46.6 +1.5
Liberal hold Swing

In his victory speech at Haddington Assembly Rooms, Hope said that East Lothian had been true to the cause of freedom, liberty and justice and had given a decisive verdict against the veto of the House of Lords (a reference to the ongoing struggle originating with the People's Budget of 1909 and the Parliament Act 1911. The result, claimed Hope, would strengthen the government against the forces of privilege and obstruction. It was a victory for self-government for Ireland, Home Rule for Scotland and reform of land law.[6]

Haddingtonshire constituency was abolished in 1918 and Hope was adopted for one of its successor constituencies Berwick and Haddington. Hope was a supporter of the coalition government of Lloyd George Liberals and the Conservatives and he received the infamous government ‘Coupon’ at the 1918 general election,[7] standing as a Coalition Liberal against Labour and Independent Liberal opposition.[8]

General Election 1918: Berwick and Haddington [9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Coalition Liberal John Deans Hope 8,584
Labour R.W. Foulis 4,783
Liberal Rt Hon. Harold John Tennant 2,567
Coalition Liberal hold Swing

Out of Parliament[edit]

At the 1922 general election both the local Conservative and Lloyd George Liberal Associations repudiated Hope as their candidate on the grounds that he had not made a single speech during his 24 years in Parliament. He had not been completely anonymous however having served on ten Parliamentary Commissions[10] and having seconded a number of resolutions, apparently without ever being called upon to speak. Arthur Balfour wrote Hope a letter of support under the impression he was still Lloyd George’s nominee but he later retracted it. In the election Hope supported Bonar Law as an Independent Lloyd Georgian[11] but there was also an official Lloyd George candidate, Major Walter Waring and an Asquithian, Mr H Pringle as well as R Spence for Labour.[12]

General Election 1922: Berwick and Haddington [13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
National Liberal Walter Waring 6,342
Labour Robert Spence 5,842
Liberal William Henderson Pringle 4,422
Independent Liberal John Deans Hope 3,300
National Liberal hold Swing

It was the end of Hope’s Parliamentary career as Waring won the contest.


  1. ^ Who was Who, OUP 2007
  2. ^ Who's who: An Annual Biographical Dictionary, Henry Robert Addison, Charles Henry Oakes, William John Lawson, Douglas Brooke Wheelton Sladen; A. & C. Black, 1903, p676
  3. ^ Newnham College Register, 1871-1950, Cambridge
  4. ^ The Times, 21.4.11
  5. ^ The Times, 14.4.11
  6. ^ The Times, 21.4.11
  7. ^
  8. ^ The Times, 5.12.18
  9. ^ Whitaker's Almanack, 1920
  10. ^ Who was Who
  11. ^ M Kinnear, The Fall of Lloyd George: The Political Crisis of 1922; University of Toronto Press, 1973 p247
  12. ^ The Times, 6.11.22
  13. ^ The Times, 17 November 1922

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Augustine Birrell
Member of Parliament for West Fife
Succeeded by
William Adamson
Preceded by
Richard Haldane
Member of Parliament for Haddingtonshire
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Berwick & Haddington
Succeeded by
Walter Waring