‘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

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Four Aclands

Today is the anniversary of the Tiverton by-election of 1923, when the Liberals won the seat from the Conservatives, whose MP Herbert Sparkes had died of pneumonia after sitting for only 6 months.

The Liberal by-election victor was Francis Acland, whose father and grandfather had also been Liberal MPs. Francis Acland served four separate periods in parliament for four different constituencies. He was Liberal MP for Richmond in Yorkshire from 1906 to January 1910, for Camborne in Cornwall from December 1910 to 1922, for Tiverton in Devon from the by-election on 21 June 1923 to 1924 and finally for North Cornwall from 1932 until his death in 1939.

Francis Acland’s son, Richard was also a Liberal MP, being elected for Barnstaple in 1935. However, Richard left the Liberal Party during the Second World War to found Common Wealth, a left-wing party which did not abide by the electoral truce and which won three seats in wartime by-elections. Common Wealth held on to only one of its seats in the 1945 election and Richard Acland was defeated. Richard then joined the Labour Party and was elected for Gravesend in a by-election in 1947. However, he defected from the Labour Party in 1955 and stood unsuccessfully as an independent in the general election later that year.

So, Francis Acland the Tiverton by-election winner 90 years ago today served four periods in parliament for four constituencies - all as a Liberal, while his son Richard was the fourth generation to sit in parliament, though he had four different political allegiances.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, makes for a good read, thanks Alun.