Spencer Leigh Hughes made his name with his "Sub Rosa" column, which appeared in the Morning Leader newspaper for 23 years. In his memoir, Press, Platform and Parliament, he notes that his dog, Star (named after another newspaper), drank tea and sometimes caught the bus home on his own.
Hughes's first contest (he was a Liberal) was at Jarrow in 1907. He had persuaded his friend Patrick Rose-Innes KC to stand as the Tory candidate, and Rose-Innes duly beat him into third place (ie, sub rosa). The contest was notable for the then rare appearance of a non-party candidate, a Mr Hunnable, who, unable to raise the deposit, went on to appear at the Holborn Empire music hall with a turn called “Modern Electioneering".
Hughes was elected as one of Stockport's two MPs in 1910 along with Labour's George Wardle, a sometime railway clerk who became editor of
the Railway Gazette.