‘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

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Hector, Horatio, Clifford and two Herberts

Today is the anniversary of the 1922 by-election in Hackney South caused by the expulsion from the House of Commons of Horatio Bottomley, swindler, showman and publisher of John Bull, a forerunner of today’s tabloids.

Bottomley was twice thrown out of the House of Commons. He was first elected for Hackney South in 1906 as a Liberal, but had the whip withdrawn when he was declared bankrupt. As a result he was forced to leave Parliament in 1912.

However, he was re-elected for his former seat in 1918 as an Independent, but thrown out again when he was jailed for seven years for fraudulent conversion, causing the by-election held on this day in 1922.

The 1922 by-election was won by the Conservative, Clifford Erskine-Bolst. However, a general election was called before he could take up his seat, although he did retain the seat at the 1922 general election, only to lose it to Herbert Morrison of the Labour Party (grandfather of Peter Mandelson) the following year.

Between 1912 and 1945 Hackney South was represented by MPs of four different political persuasions - Independent, Labour, Conservative and Liberal - rejoicing in a variety of interesting names – Hector, Horatio, Clifford, Marjorie, George and two Herberts.

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