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8 October 2015

The Returning Officer: Rusholme II

By Stephen Brasher

In 1933, Frank Boyd Merriman, the Tory MP for Rusholme, was appointed a high court judge. At the by-election the local surgeon Percy McDougall stood as an independent but the Liberals, who did not stand, refused to endorse him: “The only fault we had to find last night was that Dr McDougall could speak of nothing else other than land values.”

McDougall was the treasurer of the local Land Values League. In 1908, he had opposed the move made at the convocation for Manchester University to seek parliamentary representation along with Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield. In 1935, McDougall stood again and lost his deposit. Prosecuted for speeding in Newark later that year, he asked the bench to be lenient as: “It is not long since I have had to sacrifice £150 as a defeated candidate.” 

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This article appears in the 30 Sep 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Tory tide