1931 London County Council election
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← 1928 5 March 1931 1934 →
  First party Second party Third party
 
MR
Lab
Percy Harris (cropped).png
Leader William Ray Lewis Silkin Percy Harris
Party Municipal Reform Labour Liberal
Leader since 1925 1930
Leader's seat Hackney Central Southwark South East Bethnal Green South West
Last election 77 42 5
Seats won 83 35 6
Seat change Increase 6 Decrease 7 Increase 1

An election to the County Council of London took place on 5 March 1931. The council was elected by First Past the Post with each elector having two votes in the two-member seats. The Municipal Reform Party slightly increased its majority on the council, with overall results matching those from 1925.

Campaign

The Municipal Reform party had run the council since 1907.[1] The party campaigned on its record in government, contending that it had run the council economically, keeping rates low. Since the previous election, the council had gained the power to administer welfare benefits, and the Municipal Reformers argued that the Labour Party would practice "Poplarism" and be overly generous.[2] The party stood 106 candidates, and won the seats in City of London, Kensington South, Paddington South, Westminster Abbey and Westminster St George's without facing a contest.[3]

The Labour Party argued that welfare was administered in a harsh and cruel manner.[1] It also contended that the Municipal Reform Party had not constructed houses for workers, and supported a government scheme for a board with oversight of traffic control in the city.[2] The Manchester Guardian noted that Labour did not expect to take control of the council, as it was losing ground nationally.[1] Other than the uncontested seats, the party stood everywhere except Chelsea and Hampstead, while it had only a single candidate in Stoke Newington.[4]

The Liberal Party released a pamphlet putting forward ideas on housing, education, traffic, and the rating of land values.[1] The Municipal Reform Party and the Liberal Party had a limited pact, with the two jointly backing anti-socialist candidates in Hackney South and the three divisions of Southwark. In the two divisions of Bethnal Green, and in Lambeth North, the Municipal Reformers backed the Liberal candidates.[5] The Times noted that the Liberals were planning a much smaller campaign than in 1928, due to their losses that year, and a shortage of funds.[6] The party stood only 27 candidates, down from 82 in 1928.[3]

The Communist Party of Great Britain stood 14 candidates, and also backed six "Organised Unemployed" candidates in the three Southwark constituencies.[3]

Results

The Times noted that "rarely has an election of such importance caused so few changes". The Municipal Reformers made limited gains, taking the Liberal seat in Hackney Central, and Labour seats in Hammersmith North, Islington South, Kennington, Peckham and St Pancras South East.[7] Labour's vote fell, but the party gained seats in Islington East and Mile End, while the Liberal Party gained seats from Labour in Lambeth North.[8][9] The Communist Party of Great Britain performed poorly. Former Member of Parliament Shapurji Saklatvala took only 728 votes for the party in Battersea North.[10]

The numbers of seats won by each party matched exactly the results of the 1925 London County Council election.[8]

Party Votes Seats
Number % Stood Seats %
Municipal Reform 270,655 50.0 106 83 66.9
Labour 214,256 39.6 104 35 28.2
Liberal 30,915 5.7 27 6 4.8
Anti-Socialist 20,815 8 0 0.0
Independent 9,441 7 0 0.0
Ratepayers 5,440 2 0 0.0
Communist 4,608 14 0 0.0
Democratic 994 2 0 0.0
Organised Unemployed 987 6 0 0.0

References

  1. ^ a b c d "LCC Elections: Relief administration an issue". Manchester Guardian. 27 February 1931.
  2. ^ a b "LCC Election: parties and their policies". The Times. 3 January 1931.
  3. ^ a b c "LCC Election: full list of the nominations". The Times. 26 February 1931.
  4. ^ "Electing the LCC: socialist bid for power". The Times. 5 March 1931.
  5. ^ "LCC Elections: pacts in several divisions". Manchester Guardian. 20 February 1931.
  6. ^ "LCC Elections: Municipal Reform vs Socialism". The Times. 12 February 1931.
  7. ^ "The New LCC: Municipal Reform gains". The Times. 6 March 1931.
  8. ^ a b "The New LCC". The Times. 7 March 1931.
  9. ^ "LCC Election: seven seats lost by Labour". The Times. 7 March 1931.
  10. ^ "LCC Election Results". Manchester Guardian. 6 March 1931.