Sydney Arnold, 1st Baron Arnold

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Sydney Arnold

Sydney Arnold, 1st Baron Arnold (13 January 1878 – 3 August 1945) was a radical British Liberal Party politician who later joined the Labour Party and served as a government minister.

A son of W. A. Arnold, of Manchester, he was educated at Manchester Grammar School. As a member of the General Committee of the Manchester Liberal Federation, he served as Honorary Treasurer of the North-West Division of the Free Trade Union.[1]

He unsuccessfully contested the Conservative seat of Holderness Division of the East Riding of Yorkshire at the December 1910 General Election. He was elected in 1912 as Member of Parliament for Holmfirth in what was then the West Riding of Yorkshire at a by-election following the resignation of the long-serving Liberal MP Henry Wilson.

Holmfirth by-election, 1912[2] Electorate 13,035
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Sydney Arnold 4,749 42.0 -15.5
Unionist Robert Geoffrey Ellis 3,379 29.8 +2.2
Labour William Lunn 3,195 28.2 +13.3
Majority 1,370 12.2 -17.7
Turnout 86.9
Liberal hold Swing -8.8

In 1914 he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Jack Pease, the President of the Board of Education. He was also appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Edwin Samuel Montagu the Financial Secretary to the Treasury.[3] During the war he served as a captain in the South Staffordshire Regiment.[1]

When his constituency was abolished for the 1918 general election, he was elected for the new Penistone constituency against a Coalition Government endorsed Unionist candidate. He supported a levy on capital and the nationalisation of the mines and railways.[4] He resigned that seat due to ill-health in 1921.[citation needed]

General Election 1918: Penistone[5] Electorate
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Capt. Sydney Arnold 7,338 39.4
Unionist Maj. Phillip Gatty Smith 6,744 36.2
Independent Labour Frederick William Southern 4,556 24.4
Majority 594 3.2
Turnout 58.4
Liberal win

Labour party[edit]

In 1922 he joined the Labour Party and was ennobled in 1924 as Baron Arnold, of Hale in the County of Chester,[6] and served as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in Ramsay MacDonald's short-lived 1924 Labour Government, and as Paymaster-General from 1929 to 6 March 1931 in Macdonald's second government.

In the late 1930s he was a member of the Parliamentary Pacifist Group. He also served as a member of the council of the Anglo-German Fellowship.[7] He resigned from the Labour Party, in 1938, on account of disagreement with its Foreign Policy.[3]

Subsequently, his name was one of twenty-six attached to a letter printed in The Times supporting a policy of appeasement towards Germany. Because signatories included Barry Domvile and other leading members it was dubbed "The Link Letter" and its various signatories, including political moderates such as Arnold, William Harbutt Dawson, Smedley Crooke and Lord Londonderry, came under suspicion as far right supporters.[7][n 1]



  1. ^ The twenty-six signatories were: Captain Bernard Acworth; Lord Arnold; Sir Raymond Beazley; C. E. Carroll; John Smedley Crooke; William Harbutt Dawson; Admiral Sir Barry Domvile; A. E. R. Dyer; Lord Fairfax of Cameron; Lord Hardinge of Penshurst; Admiral Sir Edward Inglefield; F. C. Jarvis; Douglas Jerrold; Sir John Latta; A. P. Laurie; Lord Londonderry; Admiral Vincent Molteno; Lord Mount Temple; Admiral Wilmot Nicholson; Captain George Pitt-Rivers; Captain Archibald Ramsay; Lord Redesdale; Captain Arthur Rogers; Major-General Arthur Solly-Flood; Mrs Nesta Webster; Bernard Wilson.[7]


  1. ^ a b Debrett's House of Commons and Judicial Bench, 1916.
  2. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885–1918
  3. ^ a b "ARNOLD", Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, December 2012; online edn, October 2012; accessed 18 January 2014.
  4. ^ Trevor Wilson, The Downfall of the Liberal Party, 1914–1935 (1966)
  5. ^ British parliamentary election results 1918–1949
  6. ^ "No. 32907". The London Gazette. 12 February 1924. p. 1266.
  7. ^ a b c Richard Griffiths, Fellow Travellers of the Right: British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany, 1933–39, Oxford University Press, 1983, pp. 185, 329–30
  8. ^

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Wilson
Member of Parliament for Holmfirth
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Penistone
Succeeded by
William Gillis
Political offices
Preceded by
William Ormsby-Gore
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies
Succeeded by
William Ormsby-Gore
Preceded by
The Earl of Onslow
Succeeded by
(office vacant),
then Tudor Walters
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Arnold