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1937 Combined English Universities by-election

The Combined English Universities by-election, 1937 was a parliamentary by-election for the British House of Commons dual member constituency of the Combined English Universities 22 March 1937.

1937 Combined English Universities by-election Intro articles: 3


The by-election was caused by the death of the sitting Conservative MP, Sir Reginald Craddock on 10 February 1937. He had been an MP for the constituency since 1931.

1937 Combined English Universities by-election Vacancy articles: 3

Election history

The Combined English Universities was created as a dual member seat in 1918. As with all University seats, general elections were held by the Single Transferable Vote method; however by-elections were held with First Past The Post. The University seats were thought to provide an opportunity for academics, independent of party politics, to gain representation in parliament. However, more often than not, the Conservative Party and latterly, the National government parties had used them as a means to get their own candidates elected. Since 1929, Eleanor Rathbone had overcome the party machine to sit as an Independent MP for one of the seats. The other seat had been won by a Conservative. The result at the last General Election in 1935 was that Craddock and Rathbone were returned unopposed.

1937 Combined English Universities by-election Election history articles: 3


The University Conservatives selected 65-year-old Rt Hon. Sir Francis Oswald Lindley. He was a long serving Diplomat who was Ambassador to Japan 1931–1934, when he retired.[1] A 62-year-old Quaker and former Liberal MP Ted Harvey stood, but not as a Liberal candidate. He stood as an Independent Progressive candidate, saying that contests for the University seats ought to be fought on ideas and not on party political lines. A Liberal candidate had last stood in 1929 and finished as runner-up, ahead of the second Conservative candidate. Harvey had last stood for parliament at those same elections, at Leeds North coming third. He had previously been Liberal MP for Leeds West from 1910–18 and Dewsbury from 1923-24. A third candidate came forward - 71 year old Sir Henry Britten Brackenbury. He had contested the 1922 general election as Liberal candidate for Walthamstow East.

1937 Combined English Universities by-election Candidates articles: 9


Polling days were set for 15–19 March 1937. When nominations closed, it was to reveal a three horse race between Lindley the Conservative, Harvey the Independent Progressive and Brackenbury the Independent.


Combined English Universities by-election, 1937 [2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Progressive Edmund Harvey 6,596 47.4 N/A
Conservative Francis Oswald Lindley 4,952 35.6 N/A
Independent Liberal Henry Britten Brackenbury 2,373 17.0 N/A
Majority 1,644 11.8 N/A
Turnout 13,921 48.3 N/A
Independent Progressive gain from Conservative Swing N/A

The Liberal party leader Sir Archie Sinclair, Ramsay Muir and the Liberal Party Organisation all sent messages of congratulation to Harvey when he won the by-election.[3]

1937 Combined English Universities by-election Campaign articles: 2


Harvey chose to retire. The result at the following General election;

General Election 1945: Combined English Universities (2 seats)
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5
Independent Eleanor Rathbone 53.3 11,176        
Independent Kenneth Lindsay 9.2 1,923 3,503 3,856 4,528 5,826
Independent Labour Stanley Wormald 15.3 3,212 3,973 4,081 4,473 4,675
National Independent Eric Cuthbert Arden 11.6 2,433 3,073 3,389 3,829 eliminated
Independent John Henry Richardson 5.3 1,124 1,995 2,341 eliminated  
Independent A.R. Foxall 5.3 1,105 1,437 eliminated    
Electorate: 41,976   Valid: 20,973   Quota: 6,992   Turnout: 50.0%

1937 Combined English Universities by-election Aftermath articles: 6

See also


  1. ^ http://www.ukwhoswho.com
  2. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949; Political Reference Publications, Glasgow 1949
  3. ^ The Times, 23 March 1937 p16