Finsbury II

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By 1885, the Finsbury seat stretched from the City of London to Highgate. It was split into seven constituencies by the Redistribution of Seats Act. W M Torrens, its Liberal MP for 20 years, was told by the newly formed and (as he put it) “pretentiously named” Liberal Association that it wanted a candidate “of more advanced views”. He opposed the creation of a London-wide authority (proposing instead “three circles of government”) and withdrew from politics.

After the 1886 election and the defection of Joseph Chamberlain’s brother Richard, the Tories had a majority in the area. Finsbury seats later elected the first Asian MP, Dadabhai Naoroji (Finsbury Central, 1892-95), and two Lib-Lab MPs, James Rowlands (Finsbury East, 1886-95) and William Steadman (Finsbury Central, 1906-10).

This article appears in the 08 July 2013 issue of the New Statesman, The world takes sides

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