‘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, 9 February 2014

Liberals’ False Dawn at Lancaster by-election 1928

Today is the anniversary of the Lancaster by-election of 1928. The Liberals won the seat from the Conservatives.

On a turnout of 82%, Liberal candidate Robert Tomlinson beat his Conservative challenger Herwald Ramsbotham and Labour’s Reverend David Davies.

Together with by-election victories at Southwark North, Bosworth, St Ives, Eddisbury and Holland, the Lancaster result seemed to point to a resurgence for the Liberal Party under Lloyd George’s leadership between March 1927 and March 1929.

When the next general election came in May 1929, the resurgence turned out to be a false dawn with the party just climbing back to 59 seats, compared to the 40 they had won at the previous election in 1924, but nowhere near the 159 the party had held as recently as 1923. Herwald Ramsbotham took Lancaster back for the Conservatives and went on to reach the cabinet.

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