Cambridge University by-election, 1911

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The Cambridge University by-election was a Parliamentary by-election. It returned two Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post voting system.


Samuel Butcher had been Unionist MP for the seat of Cambridge University since the 1906 General Elections. He died on 29 December 1910 at the age of 60.

Electoral history[edit]

This was a safe Conservative constituency in which challenger rarely appeared. At both the General Elections in 1910, the two Conservative candidates were returned unopposed. The last contested election was in 1906 when one of the sitting Conservative MPs stood on a platform of Free Trade in opposition to the Unionist tariff reform policies:

General Election 18 January 1906: Cambridge University (2 seats)[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Samuel Butcher 3,050 39.7 N/A
Conservative John Frederick Peel Rawlinson 2,976 38.8 N/A
Free Trade John Eldon Gorst 1,653 21.5 N/A
Turnout 4,063 65.8 N/A


  • Fifty-four-year-old Sir Joseph Larmor was chosen by the Conservatives to defend the seat. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. He was standing for parliament for the first time.
  • Fifty-two-year-old Harold Cox stood on the same Free Trade platform used by Gorst in 1906. Cox however was a former Liberal Party MP, having sat for Preston from 1906-10. He opposed many of the social reform policies of the Liberal government and was defeated at the January 1910 General Election, where Gorst was standing as an official Liberal candidate. Since then he was appointed by the Conservative backed Municipal Reform Party as an Alderman for the London County Council.
  • A third candidate appeared in the shape of Thomas Ethelbert Page, who also stood on a Conservative platform. He was standing for parliament for the first time.


Polling took place over a five-day period from 11–16 February 1911.


Cambridge University by-election, 1911[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Joseph Larmor 2,308 50.3 N/A
Free Trade Harold Cox 1,954 42.5 N/A
Ind. Conservative Thomas Ethelbert Page 332 7.2 N/A
Majority 354 7.8 N/A
Turnout 7,129 64.4 N/A
Conservative hold Swing N/A


Larmoor was re-elected at the following General Election:

General Election 1918: Cambridge University (2 seats)[3]
Party Candidate % 1st Pref Count 1 Count 2
Coalition Conservative John Frederick Peel Rawlinson 35.16 2,034  
Coalition Conservative Joseph Larmor 32.69 1,891 1,986
Independent William Cecil Dampier Whetham 21.09 1,220 1,229
Labour J. C. Squire 11.06 640 641
Electorate: 9,282   Valid: 5,785   Quota: 1,929   Turnout: 62.32%


  1. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig, F. W. S.
  2. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig, F. W. S.
  3. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig, F. W. S.