Southend by-election, 1927

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Southend in Essex, showing boundaries used from 1918 to 1950.

The Southend by-election, 1927 was a parliamentary by-election for the British House of Commons constituency of Southend, Essex on 19 November 1927.

Previous MP[edit]

The Conservative MP, Rupert Guinness, Viscount Elveden succeeded his father as Earl of Iveagh and took a seat in the House of Lords, vacating his seat in the House of Commons. He had represented the seat and its predecessor since 1912 and the area had not returned any other party since the Liberals won in 1906.

Previous Result[edit]

General Election, 29 October 1924 Electorate: 47,259
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Rupert Guinness, Viscount Elveden 23,417 62.5
Liberal John Douglas Young 10,924 29.1
Labour Sydney Alexander Moseley 3,144 8.4
Majority 12,493 33.4
Turnout 79.3
Conservative hold Swing


The Conservatives chose the former MP's wife, 46-year-old Gwendolen Guinness, now titled the Countess of Iveagh to defend the seat. The Liberal candidate was 33-year-old Hon. Dougall Meston. He was a former soldier who had become a Barrister in 1924. He was the heir to Baron Meston. This was his first election as a candidate. Labour selected a new candidate in E. Harper. A fourth candidate entered the contest in the figure of a 52-year-old Manchester man, Augustine Hailwood. He had been Conservative MP for Manchester Ardwick from 1918-22. He put himself forward as a candidate protesting against Baldwin's lack of leadership as Prime Minister.


Southend by-election, 19 November 1927 Electorate: 53,039
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Gwendolen Florence Mary Guinness, Countess of Iveagh 21,221 54.6 -7.9
Liberal Hon. Dougall Meston 11,912 30.7 +1.6
Labour J.E. Harper 4,777 12.3 +3.9
Independent Conservative E. Augustine Hailwood 917 2.4 +2.4
Majority 9,309 23.9
Turnout 73.2
Conservative hold Swing

Harper(Labour) and Hailwood (Ind. Conservative) lost their deposits.


Hailwood went on to contest a further two by-elections as an Independent Conservative. Labour chose not to contest the seat at the following General Election.

General Election, 30 May 1929 Electorate: 73,815
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Gwendolen Florence Mary Guinness, Countess of Iveagh 27,605 55.8 +1.2
Liberal Hon. Dougall Meston 21,884 44.2 +13.5
Majority 5,721 11.6
Turnout 67.0
Conservative hold Swing


  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (The Macmillan Press 1979)