He was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Cockermouth at an unopposed by-election in March 1916, following the resignation of the Liberal MP Sir Wilfrid Lawson. He had previously stood unsuccessfully in the North Lonsdale at the general elections in January 1910 and December 1910, losing narrowly both occasions. In January 1910, Bliss's campaign team asked for recount after the vote was declared, but were told that the ballot boxes had already been sealed and sent by train to London. He lodged a petition, which claimed that invalid votes for Haddock had been allowed while valid votes for Bliss had been disallowed. The petition was heard in the King's Bench Division of the High Court, before Justice Lawrence and Justice Phillimore. They allowed a recount, in which the Conservative George Haddock's majority was increased to 169 votes (2.0%), and Bliss was required to pay the costs of the hearing.
The Cockermouth constituency was abolished at the 1918 general election, when Bliss was one of two sitting MPs who contested the new Lonsdale constituency. The Coalition Coupon went to his Conservative opponent Claude Lowther, who won the seat. Bliss did not stand for Parliament again.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "C" (part 5)[self-published source][better source needed]
- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 244. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
- Craig, British parliamentary election results 1885–1918, page 324
- "Election Notes: Petition for a recount". The Times. 31 January 1910. p. 7.
- "The Political Outlook: Election Petitions". The Times. 16 February 1910. p. 8.
- "Election Intelligence: The North Lonsdale Petition". The Times. 18 February 1910. p. 10.
- "The Law Courts". The Times. 23 April 1910. p. 15.
- Craig, F. W. S. (1983) . British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 400. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Joseph Bliss
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Sir Wilfrid Lawson
|Member of Parliament for Cockermouth
1916 – 1918
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