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5 March 2015

The Returning Officer: Bolton III

In 1906, Bolton elected its first Labour MP.

By Stephen Brasher

In 1906, Bolton elected its first Labour MP, A H Gill. When he was seven, Gill became a newsboy; as a ten-year-old, he worked in the cotton mills. Two months after his election, he said: “The House has the true democratic ring.”

A spoiler candidate, the Protestant League’s Colonel R H Ainsworth, was mooted after the Tory G J Goschen’s replies to the league’s election questions were deemed unsatisfactory but he did not stand. Goschen was the son of the former chancellor George Goschen and had been MP for East Grinstead since 1895. His son (also G J) served with the 3rd Battalion of the Buffs in the First World War and died in Mesopotamia in January 1916.

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