Smethwick: Parliamentary history

Page 123

A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17, Offlow Hundred (Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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In 1918 the borough of Smethwick, formerly included in the Handsworth division of the county, became a separate constituency. (fn. 1) At the election of that year the Labour candidate won against Christabel Pankhurst, the Coalition candidate, and Labour held the seat until 1931. (fn. 2) The member from 1926 to 1931 was O. E. Mosley (from 1928 Sir Oswald Mosley, Bt.), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 1929-30. In March 1931, after his resignation from the Labour Party, Sir Oswald formed the New Party, but he continued to represent Smethwick until the dissolution of Parliament later the same year. (fn. 3) From 1931 until 1945 Smethwick had a Conservative member, but Labour recaptured the seat at the general election of July 1945. (fn. 4) From October 1945 until 1964 the member was P. C. Gordon Walker, Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations 1950-1 and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 1964-5. (fn. 5) In 1964 a Conservative, Alderman P. H. S. Griffiths, was elected. By that time the question of coloured immigrants had become an issue in both the parliamentary and the municipal politics of Smethwick. Since 1966 the seat has been held by a Labour member. (fn. 6)


  • 1. Representation of the People Act, 1918, 7 & 8 Geo. V, c. 64; V.C.H. Staffs. i. 273.
  • 2. 'Old Smethwick', 7 Jan. 1950; F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results, 1918-1949 (Glasgow, 1969), 241.
  • 3. Sir Oswald Mosley, My Life, 17, 190-2, 230, 237, 247-50, 283; Staffs. Advertiser, 10 Oct. 1931, p. 7.
  • 4. Craig, Parl. Election Results, 241.
  • 5. Dod's Parl. Companion (1946); Whitaker's Almanack (1946 and later edns. to 1965).
  • 6. Whitaker's Almanack (1965 and later edns. to 1971); P. Foot, Immigration and Race in British Politics; The Guardian, 6 Feb. 1970.