1921 Woolwich East by-election

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1921 Woolwich East by-election

← 1918 2 March 1921 1922 →
  Robert Gee.jpg 1921 Ramsay MacDonald.jpg
Candidate Gee MacDonald
Party Unionist Labour
Popular vote 13,724 13,041
Percentage 51.3 48.7


MP before election


Subsequent MP


The Woolwich East by-election, 1921 was a parliamentary by-election held on 2 March 1921 for the British House of Commons constituency of Woolwich East, in the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich in London.


The seat had become vacant on the resignation of the constituency's Labour Member of Parliament (MP), Will Crooks, due to ill-health. Crooks was a noted trade unionist and working-class organiser, and had represented Woolwich East and its predecessor seat, Woolwich, since a by-election in 1903, with a gap between the two general elections of 1910.

1918 general election: Woolwich East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Will Crooks Unopposed N/A N/A
Labour hold Swing N/A


Ramsay MacDonald


The newly formed Communist Party of Great Britain urged voters to abstain, saying ""that while the coalition candidate stands openly and avowedly for capitalism in all its ramifications, its industrial autocracy, its attacks on trade unions, its exploitation, its predatory imperialism, the Labour candidate stands for Capitalism and all its manifestations, none the less surely because its purpose is hidden under high sounding words". [1]


Gee took the seat with a majority of nearly 700 votes.

Woolwich East by-election, 1921
Party Candidate Votes % ±
C Unionist Robert Gee 13,724 51.3 N/A
Labour Ramsay MacDonald 13,041 48.7 N/A
Majority 683 2.6 N/A
Turnout 26,805 78.5 N/A
Unionist gain from Labour Swing N/A
C indicates candidate endorsed by the coalition government.


Gee held the seat until the 1922 election, when Harry Snell retook the seat for Labour.

1922 general election: Woolwich, East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Harry Snell 15,620 57.1
Conservative Robert Gee 11,714 42.9
Majority 3,906 14.2
Turnout 33,993 80.4
Labour gain from Conservative Swing

MacDonald would go on to be elected MP for Aberavon in 1922, and be re-elected Leader of the Labour Party, then become Prime Minister after the 1923 election.


Ramsay MacDonald campaigning at Woolwich

See also[edit]



  • Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  • Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]