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1940 Kettering by-election

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The seat had become vacant when the constituency's Conservative Member of Parliament (MP), John Eastwood, had resigned his seat when he was appointed as a Metropolitan Police magistrate.[1] He had been Kettering's MP since the 1931 general election, when he had defeated the sitting Labour MP Samuel Perry.


The Conservative candidate was John Profumo, an army officer and son of a prominent barrister of Italian origin.

During World War II, the parties in the Coalition Government had agreed not to contest vacancies in seats held by other coalition parties. However, William Ross, a local steel-worker and Labour Party councillor in Corby, wanted to contest the seat. He was disowned by his local Labour Party and by the party's National Executive Committee, and stood as a "Workers' and Pensioners' Anti-War" candidate.


On a turnout barely half of that at the 1935 general election, Profumo held the seat comfortably, with 73% of the votes. After a successful career in the army (where he rose to the rank of Brigadier and was awarded an OBE), he was defeated at the 1945 general election. He returned to Parliament in 1950, and rose through the ranks to become Secretary of State for War in 1960, before his career was destroyed in 1963 by a political scandal which became known as the Profumo affair.


Kettering by-election, 6th March 1940
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative John Profumo 17,914 73.0 +20.9
Workers' and Pensioners' Anti-War William Ross 6,616 27.0 N/A
Majority 11,298 46.0 +41.8
Turnout 24,530 37.8 −37.5
Conservative hold Swing

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "No. 34810". The London Gazette. 12 March 1940. p. 1467.