Edinburgh East by-election, 1912

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


Sir James Gibson had been Liberal MP for the seat of Edinburgh East since the Edinburgh East by-election, 1909. On 10 January 1912 his poor health was reported by The Times, who commented that he had been ill for some time. He death was reported two days later.

Electoral history[edit]

The seat had been won by a Liberal at every election since it was created in 1885. The result at the last election was as follows.

Sir James Gibson
General Election December 1910[1] Edinburgh East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal James Gibson 6,436 63.0
Liberal Unionist R M Cameron 3,782 37.0
Liberal hold Swing

However, at the by-election in 1909, the Liberal majority had been reduced to 458 votes - 5.4%.



Jameson, the Unionist candidate unsurprisingly sought to champion opposition to two Liberal Government policies, the Irish Home Rule proposals and the National Insurance Act while supporting Tariff Reform. However, he also spoke out in favour of the abolition of hereditary peers and making the second chamber democratic. He also favoured the use of public referenda.[3] He was opposed to giving women the vote and opposed to granting Home Rule for Scotland.

For the Liberal, Hogge stood for Irish and Scottish Home Rule, universal adult suffrage, temperance reform and the reform of the land laws.[4] He also favoured the abolition of the House of Lords.

The Edinburgh branch of the National Society for Women's Suffrage after questioning both candidates unsurprisingly chose to support the Liberal, James Hogge. The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies also chose to use interest in the by-election to promote women's suffrage through a series of local meetings.


James Hogge
By-Election 2 February 1912: Edinburgh East Electorate
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal James Myles Hogge 5,064 55.0 -8.0
Conservative John Gordon Jameson 4,139 45.0 +8.0
Majority 925 10.0 -16.0
Turnout 9,203
Liberal hold Swing -8.0

Unsurprisingly, the Liberal majority was well down on what it had been at the last General election, however, the majority was nearly twice as much as it had been following the by-election in 1909.


A General Election was due to take place by the end of 1915. By the autumn of 1914, the following candidates had been adopted to contest that election.

Due to the outbreak of war, the election never took place.

General Election 14 December 1918: Edinburgh East[5] Electorate 25,895
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal James Myles Hogge 8,460 62.2 +7.2
National Democratic
  • Alexander E Balfour
5,136 37.8 n/a
Majority 3,324 24.4 +14.4
Turnout 13,596 52.5
Liberal hold Swing n/a
  • Balfour was the endorsed candidate of the Coalition Government.


  1. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig, F.W.S. (1974)
  2. ^ The Times, 23 January 1912 p7
  3. ^ The Times (London, England), Friday, 19 January 1912; pg. 8
  4. ^ The Times (London, England), Tuesday, 23 January 1912; pg. 7
  5. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig, F.W.S. (1974)