Newington II

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Cecil Norton (later Lord Rathcreedan) was elected as the first Liberal MP for Newington West in 1892, gaining the seat from the Conservatives.

He established a Liberal club in the constituency and, in his memoirs, Memories of a Long Life, published in 1931, recalled that it put on entertainments. One evening, the steward came up to him to apologise. On asking why, he was told that the middle classes had been shocked by a girl turning a cartwheel.

When Norton was ennobled in 1916, the Tories observed the wartime political truce at the by-election but an independent Labour candidate, J J Terrett, stood against the Liberal James Gilbert. Terrett is recorded by the British Library as the person who proposed Lenin for his reader’s card in 1908. His application was refused until he gave another reference.

This article appears in the 29 July 2013 issue of the New Statesman, Summer Double Issue

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