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  1. Election 2024
19 February 2015

The Returning Officer: Bolton

Liberal MP George Harwood was a Church of England deacon.

By Stephen Brasher

George Harwood was elected as Liberal MP for the two-member Bolton seat in 1895, defeating the Tory Francis Bridgeman. Dr F G Lee, author of The Validity of English Ordinations, wrote to the Times to dispute the election, as Harwood was a Church of England deacon. Harwood declared he had taken advantage of the Clerical Relief Act but was not as some had claimed, a Unitarian.

George Harwood, from “Black & White” Parliamentary Album 1895

In 1906 he told a meeting at Blackpool that “when in doubt he went on to Westminster Bridge, smoking his pipe, and wondered what God thought of the matter”, adding that “God was a democrat”. In 1909 he donated a granite monolith inscribed with key dates in Bolton’s history.

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