John Hancock (British politician)

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John George Hancock (15 October 1857 – 19 July 1940) was a Liberal Party politician and Trade Unionist in the United Kingdom.


He was the eldest son of Joseph Hancock of Pinxton, Derbyshire. In 1882 he married Mary Hoten of Pinxton.[1]

Early career[edit]

Hancock worked at a pit as a boy. He formed the Pinxton Branch of the Nottinghamshire Miners' Association. In 1893 he became the General Secretary of the Nottinghamshire Miners' Association. He became a miners agent and the miners association Financial Secretary in 1896.[2]

Political career[edit]

He was elected as (MP) for Mid Derbyshire at a by-election in July 1909, as a Liberal candidate, sponsored by the Derbyshire Miners Association. Hancock held the seat and managed a slightly reduced majority;

Mid Derbyshire by-election, 1909[3] Electorate 13,244
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John George Hancock 6,735 60.5 -6.5
Conservative Samuel Cresswell 4,392 39.5 +6.5
Majority 2,343 21.0 13.0
Turnout 84.0 +1.4
Liberal hold Swing -6.5

In 1909, he was one of a group of Miners Union sponsored Liberal MPs who were instructed by the Miners Federation of Great Britain to take the Labour party whip in the House of Commons and stand at the following election as Labour party candidates. Hancock held the seat at the following General election under his new party label;

General Election January 1910[3] Electorate 13,660
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour John George Hancock 7,575 63.9 +3.4
Conservative Francis Francis 4,268 36.1 -3.4
Majority 3,289 27.8 +6.8
Turnout 86.6 +2.6
Labour gain from Liberal Swing +3.4

He held the seat at the following General election;

General Election December 1910[3] Electorate 13,660
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour John George Hancock 6,557 60.5 -3.4
Conservative David Rhys 4,287 39.5 +3.4
Majority 2,270 21.0 -6.8
Turnout 10,844 79.4 -7.2
Labour hold Swing -3.4

He served as a Justice of the Peace in Nottinghamshire. Relations between the Labour and Liberal parties deteriorated after 1910 and they were expected to field candidates against each other in some cases at the next election, anticipated to be in 1915. Hancock decided that he would rather defend his seat as a Liberal, so crossed the floor in 1915 to re-join the Liberals. During the war he combined with future Labour MP George Spencer to attempt to take the Nottinghamshire Miners Association out of the Miners Federation of Great Britain political fund.[4] He was then returned unopposed for the new Belper constituency. In 1921, after 25 years service, he stood down from the post of Financial Secretary of the Nottinghamshire Miners Association, but continued as a miners agent.[2] He held the seat again at the 1922 election, this time, for the first time, against a Labour Party opponent.

General Election 1922: Belper[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John George Hancock 12,494 61.1
Labour Oliver Walter Wright 7,942 38.9
Majority 4,552 22.2
Turnout 20,436 63.6
Liberal hold Swing

However, he was defeated at the 1923 general election by the Conservative Party candidate, Herbert Wragg.

General Election 1923: Belper[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Herbert Wragg 9,662 41.8
Labour Oliver Walter Wright 7,284 31.5 -7.4
Liberal John George Hancock 6,178 26.7 -34.5
Majority 2,378 10.3
Turnout 23,124 70.0 +6.4
Unionist gain from Liberal Swing

Aged 65, he did not stand for Parliament again. In 1927, following the General Strike, there was a split in the Nottinghamshire miners and Hancock followed the Association's General Secretary and Labour MP, George Spencer in the creation of the more moderate Nottinghamshire Miners' Industrial Union. Hancock became the breakaway union's Treasurer, serving until 1937 when the two miners organisations reunited.[2]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir James Alfred Jacoby
Member of Parliament for Mid Derbyshire
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Belper
Succeeded by
Herbert Wragg
Trade union offices
Preceded by
William Bailey
General Secretary of the Nottinghamshire Miners' Association
Succeeded by
Aaron Stewart


  1. ^ Debrett's House of Commons 1916
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ a b c d e British parliamentary election results 1918-1949
  4. ^ Industrial Politics and the 1926 Mining Lockout

External links[edit]