1936 Derby by-election

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The Derby by-election of 1936 was held on 9 July 1936. It was held due to the resignation of the incumbent National Labour MP, J. H. Thomas, and the seat was gained by the Labour candidate Philip Noel-Baker.[1]


Derby had been represented by J.H. Thomas since 1910, a seat he held jointly with several other people because Derby was a two-member constituency until 1950. In 1936, Thomas was forced to resign from the government after being caught giving away secrets in the budget through coded messages. That was uncovered after he shouted "tee up" whilst golfing, to indicate a rise in tea tax.[2] Thomas chose to step down from the House of Commons by being appointed as the Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, an office of profit under the Crown which disqualifies MPs and causes a vacancy their constituency.[3]


National Labour selected Archibald Church to follow on as the Derby candidate. Church had previously been an MP for Leyton East and Wandsworth Central.[1] Philip Noel-Baker was chosen to represent Labour and had the support of Liberal former Prime Minister David Lloyd George. The election was primarily fought on the issue of the British response to the Italian invasion of Abyssinia.[4] Church's campaign had been damaged by Lord Allen of Hurtwood stating that "the National Government is no longer fit to represent the nation".[4] Noel-Baker won the election and went on to represent Derby, and the successor constituency of Derby South, until 1970.[5]

Derby by-election, 1936[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Philip Noel-Baker 28,419 52.5
National Labour Archibald Church 25,666 47.5
Majority 2,753 5.0 N/A
Turnout 54,085 65.5
Labour gain from National Labour Swing


  1. ^ a b "The Returning Officer: Derby". New Statesman. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  2. ^ Blaxland, Gregory (1964). J.H. Thomas: A life for Unity. F. Muller. p. 285. ISBN 9780392079860.
  3. ^ "Appointments to the Chiltern Hundreds" (PDF). Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 27 March 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ a b Gildart, K. (2014). Dictionary of Labour Biography. XI. Springer. p. 30. ISBN 978-0230500181.
  5. ^ "The Nobel Peace Prize 1959". Nobel. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  6. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918–1949; Political Reference Publications, Glasgow 1949