The Returning Officer: Mansfield II

The Communist Rosina Smith accused Brown of “being afraid of his phantom past”. 

NS

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

In 1929, Mansfield’s Labour MP Frank Varley died shortly before parliament was dissolved. The press noted that a sea voyage to Africa had “failed to restore him” and speculated that Labour would select A J Cook, the leader of the Miners’ Federation. Instead, it chose Charles Brown, who had worked in the hosiery trade.

The local hosiery manufacturers’ association endorsed the Unionist S R Sidebottom, who asserted that many miners’ homes relied on what the daughters earned in the hosiery factories.

The Communist Rosina Smith accused Brown of “being afraid of his phantom past”. She later edited the women’s page in the Daily Worker and moved to China, where she received a state funeral in 1985.

Stephen Brasher

This article appears in the 01 May 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Scots are coming!