‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Monday, 29 April 2013

Last MP to go to work by horse

Harry Nathan was the last MP to ride to work on a horse. He was used to coping with danger, having survived being shot through the head in the First World War.

Nathan was one of 18 new Liberal MPs elected in 1929, of whom only two (James de Rothschild and James Scott) remained members of the Liberal Party for the rest of their careers. Most split off with the Liberal Nationals after 1931, but four, including Nathan, defected to the Labour Party.

Nathan joined the Labour Party in 1934, but was defeated in the 1935 election. He returned as the victorious Labour candidate in Wandsworth Central on this day in 1937, gaining the seat from the Conservatives.

In 1940 Nathan resigned the seat to make way for Ernest Bevin to enter the Commons. Nathan went to the Lords, where he later served as Minister for Civil Aviation. In this role he was responsible for sacking Donald Bennett, who featured in yesterday’s post – see below.

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