The Returning Officer: Portsmouth South II

In 1929, Labour’s Jessie Stephen stood for the third time against the Tory MP Herbert Cayzer. She later fought Kidderminster in 1931 and – at the age of 71 and
41 years after her first contest – in Weston-super-Mare in 1964.

She was elected as a councillor in Bermondsey in 1922 and in Bristol in 1952. In 1928, she wrote a pamphlet for the ILP called Flapdoodle About Flappers. As a young suffragette in Glasgow, she took part in the campaign to destroy letters by pouring acid into postboxes. Stephen’s campaign was helped by Frank Privett. He had been the first lord mayor of Portsmouth and Tory MP for Portsmouth Central (1922-23) but stood as an Independent Unionist against Cayzer, finishing third.

This article appears in the 03 September 2014 issue of the New Statesman, The summer of blood

Free trial CSS