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The December 1910 General Election

November 5, 2019 1:25 PM

Arthur Du Cros (British Newspaper Archive)December General Elections are not unusual; there were three in the last century. But the closest parallel to today was in 1910 - the second in that year, when we were also in somewhat uncertain and divided times (less so perhaps).

Then as now, the Tories were the villains, using the House of Lords to block Liberal Lloyd George's People's Budget, the midwife of the Welfare State. The Tories held Hastings but lost the overall election.

Arthur Du Cros (photo: Vanity Fair, British Newspaper Archive) held the seat that he had effectively inherited from his father in a 1908 by-election until 1918. He took 4,397 votes to Liberal Arthur Johnson's 3,515, on an 87.6% turnout - a turnout to aim for.

Du Cros is probably best remembered locally for the incident in 1913 when suffragettes set fire to his house, Levetleigh, on the corner of Brittany Road and Dane Road in St. Leonards. Du Cros was an opponent of votes for women.

Du Cros was less successful in his business career, his fortune never recovered from his investment with Clarence Hatry, whose fraudulent collapse has been cited as amongst the causes of the 1929 Wall Street Crash. Hatry served 9 years of a 14-year prison sentence, two with hard labour. It's a great shame that the perpetrators of Gordon Brown's recession of 2008 didn't enjoy the same.

In Rye, which had its own MP in 1910, Tory George Courthope also held the seat, which he represented from 1906-1945, with 6,673 votes. St John Hutchinson, the Liberal, (photo: Hastings & St Leonards Observer,1909, photographer unknown)

John Hutchinson (Hastings & St Leonards Observer,1909, photographer unknown)

and son of the former Liberal MP for Rye, Charles Frederick Hutchinson, took 4,601 votes on an 81% poll. He would later be elected as a Progressive for the Poplar division of the London County Council and served under the judicial appointment of Recorder for Hastings from 1930 until his death in 1942. His wife, Mary, was a novelist and was associated with the Bloomsbury Group.

The December 1910 General Election gave Asquith's Liberals and their allies the mandate to assert the sovereignty of the House of Commons over the House of Lords, removing the Lords' veto of financial Bills. Significantly this led to the National Insurance Act of 1911 with introduced medical and unemployment benefits, heralding the Welfare State.

2019 sees us in another constitutional crisis, and the General Election on 12th December gives us the opportunity to stop fiddling with Brexit while the planet burns, and get on with the serious business of fighting Climate Change and the ills that go with it. Nick Perry is just the firefighter we need in Parliament.

Published & promoted by Paul Hunt on behalf of Nick Perry (Liberal Democrats) both at Flat 3, 49 West Hill Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea, TN38 0NA.