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Sir Alfred Davies Devonsher Broughton (18 October 1902 – 2 April 1979) was a British Labour Party politician.

Sir Alfred Broughton

Member of Parliament
for Batley and Morley
In office
17 February 1949 – 2 April 1979
Preceded byHubert Beaumont
Succeeded byKenneth Woolmer
Personal details
Born(1902-10-18)18 October 1902
Died2 April 1979(1979-04-02) (aged 76)
Political partyLabour


Early lifeEdit

Broughton was educated at Rossall School, Downing College, Cambridge and the London Hospital and became a doctor, a member of a family who had been Batley doctors for 70 years. During World War II he worked in civil defence and in the medical corps of the Royal Air Force. He was a member of Batley Borough Council 1946-49.

Parliamentary careerEdit

Broughton was Member of Parliament for Batley and Morley from a 1949 by-election. He was an opposition whip in 1960. Broughton was in poor health throughout the 1970s, spending much of the time living in hospital in Yorkshire. The fact that the Labour government's majority had been lost meant that his treatment was often disrupted so that he could be taken down to London to be 'nodded through' to win key votes. He was known by many MPs as "Doc Broughton".

1979 No Confidence vote and deathEdit

On 28 March 1979 the government faced a knife-edge vote of no confidence when Broughton was on his death bed. Broughton's doctors were extremely concerned for him and strongly advised him not to travel. Although he was willing to come down to vote knowing that death was imminent, Prime Minister James Callaghan decided it would be obscene to ask him to do so, in case he died during the ambulance journey. In the event, the government lost by one vote; had Broughton been present, it would have survived. Broughton died five days later, aged 76.

In popular cultureEdit

On 8 June 2009 an afternoon play called How Are You Feeling, Alf? about Broughton and the 1979 no confidence vote was aired on BBC Radio 4. David Ryall played Broughton and Malcolm Tierney was James Callaghan. He is a character in James Graham's play This House, first staged by the National Theatre.


External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hubert Beaumont
MP for Batley and Morley
Succeeded by
Kenneth Woolmer