John Kerr (British politician)

John Kerr (born 1852)[1] was a British businessman and a Conservative Party politician. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Preston in Lancashire from 1903 to 1906.

Kerr, who lived in East Lothian, was the principal owner of Dick, Kerr, and Company Ltd, which carried out large contracts for the construction of tram and cable lines in London, Edinburgh and other cities.[2]

He unsuccessfully contested the 1900 general election in his home area of Haddingtonshire.[3] In April 1903 Robert William Hanbury, the Conservative MP for Preston, died aged 58. In the preceding years, Kerr's company had opened extensive tram and electrical equipment factories in Preston,[2] employing nearly 2,000 people,[4] and he was selected as the Conservative candidate for the resulting by-election in May 1903. The Times newspaper reported that he described himself as a firm supporter of the government and as "a thorough Imperialist, believing the maintenance of the Empire as a whole to be essential to the prosperity, if not continued existence, of Britain as an independent Power".[5] The Liberal Party backed the Labour candidate, trade unionist John Hodge,[6] who had the support of the local temperance movement and reported the defection of many local working-class Conservatives to the Labour cause.[7] However, Kerr won the seat[8] with a majority of 14% of the votes over Hodge, his sole opponent.[9]

Kerr held the Preston seat until his defeat at the 1906 general election,[9] after which he did not stand for Parliament again.


  1. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "P" (part 2)
  2. 1 2 "Election Intelligence. Preston.". The Times. London. p. 5. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help);
  3. Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 542. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  4. "Election Intelligence.". The Times. London. 8 May 1903. p. 5.
  5. "Election Intelligence.". The Times. London. 9 May 1903. p. 12.
  6. "Election Intelligence.". The Times. London. 12 May 1903. p. 7.
  7. "Election Intelligence. Preston". The Times. London. 14 May 1903. p. 7.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 27553. p. 3149. 19 May 1903. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
  9. 1 2 Craig, page 173

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert William Hanbury
William Tomlinson
Member of Parliament for Preston
With: William Tomlinson
Succeeded by
John Thomas Macpherson
Harold Cox

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