Kingston upon Hull Central by-election, 1919

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The Kingston upon Hull Central by-election, 1919 was a parliamentary by-election held for the British House of Commons constituency of Kingston upon Hull Central on 29 March 1919. The by-election was the fifth to be held during the 1918-1922 parliament.

Vacancy[edit]

The seat had become vacant when the Coalition Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Sir Mark Sykes died on 16 February 1919 aged 39, a victim of the Spanish flu pandemic. He had held the seat since winning the Kingston upon Hull Central by-election, 1911 on 5 July 1911.

Electoral history[edit]

The result at the last general election in 1918 was;

Sir Mark Sykes
1918 General Election[1] Electorate 31,421
Party Candidate Votes % ±
C Unionist Mark Sykes 13,805 80.1
Liberal Roderick Kedward 3,434 19.9
Majority 10,371 60.2
Turnout 17,239 54.9
Unionist hold Swing
C indicates candidate endorsed by the coalition government.

Candidates[edit]

Lord Percy

Campaign[edit]

Polling Day was set for 29 March 1919, 41 days after the death of the former MP. Nominations closed to confirm that the election would be a two-way contest.

Percy immediately received the official endorsement of the Coalition Government.

As with the Leyton West by-election 6 weeks earlier, the dominant issue of the campaign was the idea being floated by the Coalition Government of retaining Conscription during peacetime. Kenworthy took a strong line in opposition to continuing conscription. He also argued against the imposition of impossible reparations against Germany. Percy's campaign did little other than express support for the Coalition Government.[2]

Result[edit]

According to reports in The Times newspaper, the by-election proved largely uneventful and the parties were expecting a small poll.[3] In the event there was a turnout of 51% which although on the lower end of the spectrum for by-elections of the day, was not the lowest experienced during the 1918–1922 Parliament.[4] Popular opinion was swinging against the coalition government of David Lloyd George and Bonar Law and particularly against the Conservative half of the coalition.[5] As a result, the Liberal candidate, Joseph Kenworthy, gained the seat for his party with a majority of 917 over his Coalition Conservative opponent, Lord Eustace Percy.

Joseph Kenworthy
Kingston upon Hull Central by-election, 1919[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Joseph Kenworthy 8,616 52.8 +32.9
C Unionist Eustace Percy 7,699 47.2 -32.9
Majority 917 5.6 65.8
Turnout 51.9 -3.0
Liberal gain from Unionist Swing +32.9
C indicates candidate endorsed by the coalition government.

British Pathe has newsreel footage of Joseph Kenworthy taken after his election victory. http://www.britishpathe.com/video/commander-kenworthy/query/election

Aftermath[edit]

Kenworthy went on to hold the seat for the Liberals at the subsequent general election. The result at the following general election in 1922 was;

1922 General Election[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Joseph Kenworthy 15,374 55.5 +2.7
Unionist Herbert William Looker 12,347 44.5 -2.7
Majority 3,027 11.0 +5.4
Turnout 27,721 79.1 +27.2
Liberal hold Swing +2.7

Percy was to find electoral success elsewhere and go on to sit in the Conservative Cabinet of Stanley Baldwin. The proposal for retaining Conscription during peacetime was quickly dropped.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig
  2. ^ Trial By Ballot by Ivor RM Davies, p30
  3. ^ The Times, 29 March 1919
  4. ^ Chris Cook and John Ramsden, By-elections in British Politics; UCL Press, 1997 pp271-272
  5. ^ The Times, 12 April 1919
  6. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig
  7. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig