Gravesend by-election, 1918

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The Gravesend 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 Gilbert Parker had been Conservative MP for the seat of Gravesend since the 1900 General Elections. In 1918, Parker resigned his seat.

Electoral history[edit]

Parker had encountered few problems in holding the seat for the Conservatives, even in the Liberal landslide year of 1906. At the previous general election in 1910, Parker had a comfortable majority.

General Election December 1910: Gravesend [1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Gilbert Parker 3,108 55.4 -0.3
Liberal Samuel Roberts Jenkins 2,506 44.6 +0.3
Majority 602 10.8 -0.6
Turnout 5,614 83.4 -4.2
Conservative hold Swing -0.3


Alexander Richardson was chosen to defend the seat for both the Unionist Party and the Coalition Government. He was a 54 year old engineering journalist and editor.[2] He was standing for parliament for the first time. Due to the war-time electoral truce, he faced no opposition from either the Liberal Party or the Labour Patty. He faced two opponents, Alderman Henry Edward Davis running as an Independent Unionist and Harry Hinkley running as an Independent Labour candidate. Alderman Davis also supported the Coalition Government.


Polling Day was fixed for 7 June 1918.


The Unionists held the seat with a reduced share of the vote.

Gravesend by-election, 1918
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Alexander Richardson 1,312 44.0 -11.4
Independent Unionist Henry Edward Davis 1,106 37.1 N/A
Independent Labour Harry Hinkley 562 18.9 N/A
Majority 206 6.9 -3.9
Turnout 36.6 -46.8
Unionist hold Swing


At the general election later that year, Richardson was again endorsed by the Coalition Government. He again faced Davis and Hinkley. Hinkley this time being endorsed by the right-wing National Party. The Labour and Liberal parties also ran candidates, splitting the ant-coalition government vote and Richardson thus won easily.

General Election 1918: Gravesend
Party Candidate Votes % ±
C Unionist Alexander Richardson 7,841 51.6 -3.8
Labour James Butts 3,254 21.5 N/A
Independent Unionist Henry Edward Davis 1,817 12.0 N/A
Liberal Charles Edward Best 1,271 8.4 -47.0
National Harry Hinkley 985 6.5 N/A
Majority 4,587 30.1 +19.3
Turnout 15,168 48.8 -34.6
Registered electors 31,070
Unionist hold Swing +21.6
C indicates candidate endorsed by the coalition government.


  1. ^ Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1916
  2. ^ ‘RICHARDSON, Sir Alexander’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2016; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014 accessed 22 May 2017