Buckingham By-election, 1891

There was a by-election in North Bucks in 1891 when the sitting Liberal MP, Captain Edmund Verney, was expelled as a result of being sent to prison.

Sheffield Independent, 23 May 1891

NORTH BUCKS. The nomination for North Bucks took place yesterday at Buckingham. Mr Hubbard, Conservative candidate, received 15 nominations, and Mr. Leon, Liberal, 11. The nomination papers came from all parts of the constituency. One for Mr. Hubbard was from the Liberal Unionists, and another from the licensed victuallers. Meetings were held yesterday in several parts of the division. An active canvass is being carried on, and both parties express themselves hopeful as to the result. The Hon. Rose Hubbard spoke in support of her brother's candidature at Winslow on Thursday night.

Evelyn Hubbard was the brother of Lord Addington, who had held the seat previously for the Conservatives. He stood unsuccessfully in 1889. The Liberal candidate, Herbert Leon of Bletchley Park, had strong support at Winslow. A Liberal meeting was held in the Centenary Hall on 13 May chaired by Rev. John Pither. Leon arrived late in the evening after speaking at four other meetings. The Conservatives (who usually referred to themselves as Unionists) met at The Bell on 20 May with H.J. Chinnery in the chair. One of the speakers was the candidate's sister Hon. Rose Hubbard, who caused great controversy when she said Leon allegedly paying extra wages to his labourers "was spoiling the labour market".

Poster for election meeting at Winslow

This poem by W.N. Midgley was printed on the other side of the poster. Home Rule for Ireland (as proposed by "Gladstonian Liberals" and opposed by "Liberal Unionists") was one of the main political issues of the time, as referred to in the final verse.

Poem in support of Herbert Leon

Daily News, 28 May 1891
The Tories held an open-air meeting in the market place at Winslow on Tuesday. Mr. Swift MacNeill, [Liberal] M.P., drove up from the station and got down at the Bell Hotel, which looks over the market place, and was received with cheers from the assembled crowd. Thinking it a Liberal meeting, he attempted to mount the waggonnette, but was met with expostulations. Mr. MacNeill replied that he was very sorry, but he thought that it was a Radical meeting. He returned among the crowd, and humbly asked leave to be allowed to say a few words afterwards, and in the meantime he promised to give the Tories a patient hearing. The meeting proceeded, but strange to say the Tories proposed no vote of confidence in Mr. Hubbard, and after the meeting broke up Mr. Ball (Radical candidate for Rye Division of Sussex) addressed the same audience and met with an enthusiastic reception.

The Times, 29 May 1891: letter from Rev. Dr S. James of North Marston
On Monday I spoke to one of the largest and most enthusiastic Liberal meetings ever held in Winslow, a meeting instinct with life and sensitive to the least touch, and avowed myself - standing by the side of Mr. Swift MacNeill, who had just sat down - opposed most strongly to Home Rule, and my statement of opposition was received with every respect by an audience which was Radical, Gladstonian, "Leonine," and in every way impetuous, and almost intolerant, of what it did not approve…

On polling day (28 May), Hubbard visited Winslow at 8 a.m. and Leon at 7 p.m. 640 votes were cast out of a possible 700 at Winslow. There are no records of the sorts of incidents which had marked previous elections. T.D. Curtis represented the Conservatives and B. Fulks (presumably meaning A.O. Fulks) the Liberals.

Election result
Herbert Leon 5,013
Hon. Evelyn Hubbard 4,632

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Copyright 18 July, 2021