The Returning Officer: Hythe

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In 1929, Hythe became the first UK constituency to have two women candidates at the same general election. Grace Colman, later the MP for Tynemouth (1945-50) and a candidate in Sheffield Hallam (1935), stood for Labour in the 1929 and 1931 elections, opposing the sitting Tory Philip Sassoon (a cousin of Siegfried Sassoon).

The Liberal candidate in 1929 was Hester Holland, an organiser for the Women’s National Liberal Association and later the headquarters organiser for the National Birth Control Association. At a meeting after the election, the chairman called her “one of the most popular candidates in the country”. She was reselected in 1931 but withdrew to support the formation of the National Government.

Stephen Brasher

This article appears in the 28 January 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Should Labour split?

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