Stirling Burghs by-election, 1908

The Stirling Burghs 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. The by-election was caused by the death of the former Liberal Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman


Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman

Sir Henry had been Liberal MP for the seat of Stirling Burghs since the 1868 General Election. Following a series of heart attacks, he resigned as Prime Minister on 3 April 1908. He died on 22 April 1908 at the age of 72.

Electoral history

The seat was safe for the Liberals. Sir Henry had not been opposed at the last election. The last contested election was the election before when his majority had been halved;

General Election January 1900[1] Electorate
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Rt Hon. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman 2,715 56.6 -6.1
Liberal Unionist Oliver Thomas Duke 2,085 43.4 +6.1
Majority 630 12.2 -12.2
Liberal hold Swing -6.1



Polling Day was fixed for the 22 May 1908, one month after the death of Sir Henry.

All the newspapers dwelt on the court connections of Ponsonby's father and brother, and of his having been a page to Queen Victoria. The electors were fascinated by an advanced radical with such an impeccable upper class, not to say royal, background.[6]


The Liberals held the seat and managed a slightly increased majority;

Stirling Burghs by-election, 1908[7] Electorate 7,558
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Arthur Augustus William Harry Ponsonby 3,873 60.7 n/a
Unionist William Whitelaw 2,512 39.3 n/a
Majority 1,361 21.4 n/a
Turnout 84.5 n/a
Liberal hold Swing n/a

Ponsonby derived some benefit from the general atmosphere of a miniature general election that surrounded the by-elections of Asquith's new ministers.[8]


General Election January 1910[9] Electorate 8,147
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Arthur Augustus William Harry Ponsonby 4,471 64.9 +4.2
Unionist Neil James Kennedy Cochran-Patrick 2,419 35.1 -4.2
Majority 2,052 29.8 +8.4
Turnout 84.6 +0.1
Liberal hold Swing +4.2


  1. British parliamentary election results 1885-1918
  2. Who's Who:
  3. Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 518. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
  4. Hughes, Geoffrey (1987) [1986]. LNER. London: Guild Publishing/Book Club Associates. p. 14. CN 1455.
  5. Vallance, H.A.; Clinker, C.R.; Lambert, Anthony J. (1985) [1938]. The Highland Railway (4th ed.). Newton Abbot: David & Charles. p. 202. ISBN 0-946537-24-0.
  6. Arthur Ponsonby: the politics of life, Raymond A. Jones
  7. British parliamentary election results 1885-1918
  8. Arthur Ponsonby: the politics of life, Raymond A. Jones
  9. British parliamentary election results 1885-1918
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