The Returning Officer: Bournemouth II

Leonard Lyle was Tory MP for Bournemouth (1940-45). In 1918, he was elected at West Ham (Stratford). After Lyle lost that seat in 1922, he was elected at Epping in a by-election in 1923 but stood down the following year so that Winston Churchill could return to parliament. In 1945, he did the same thing again, standing down so that Churchill’s ally Brendan Bracken could return to the Commons, having been defeated at Paddington North.

Lyle was from the sugar firm that combined with Tate and led the campaign to stop sugar nationalisation in the late 1940s, inventing the sword-wielding figure of Mr Cube and the slogan “Tate not state”.

In 1952, Bracken was succeeded by Nigel Nicolson, whose firm Weidenfeld & Nicolson published the first British edition of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.

This article first appeared in the 21 January 2014 issue of the New Statesman, The radicalism of fools