George Thorne (politician)
George Rennie Thorne, MP
|Born||12 October 1853|
Longside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
|Died||20 February 1934 (aged 80)|
Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England
|Known for||Member of Parliament, Mayor of Wolverhampton|
Family and educationEdit
Thorne was educated at Tettenhall College, Wolverhampton and became a solicitor in 1876 . In 1886, he married Susan Mary Jones and they had two daughters. He went on to become senior member of the law form G R Thorne & Sons of Wolverhampton and London.
Thorne entered local politics in Wolverhampton being a Borough Councillor for many years and later an Alderman. He was Mayor of Wolverhampton in 1902-03 and Chairman of South Staffordshire Joint Smallpox Hospital from its formation. He also served as a Justice of the Peace.
Wolverhampton East by-election, 1908Edit
Thorne had stood unsuccessfully for election twice in the South and West divisions of Wolverhampton before getting elected in 1908 at by-election on 5 May to succeed Sir Henry Fowler who had been made a peer.
In nearly every way Thorne seemed the stereotypical Liberal of his day; a pronounced nonconformist, a Baptist, in a constituency where there were many nonconformist voters. In his election meetings and literature he declared himself a supporter of Free Trade, the proposed Bill on Old Age Pensions, restricting to eight the hours that miners could be made to work daily, women’s suffrage, Irish Home Rule and any necessary reform of the House of Lords. He was also strongly in favour of temperance and a supporter of the disestablishment of the Church of England.
Thorne won the by-election by a majority of just eight votes from the Unionist candidate Leo Amery. One of reasons it was such a narrow margin was the policy of the Suffragettes at this time to oppose the candidates of the Liberal government because they would not bring in a Bill to provide votes for women. This was despite the individual views of the candidates, many of whom, like Thorne, were pro-women’s suffrage. In this election, a Mrs Lois Dawson, who had incorrectly been placed on the electoral register as Louis Dawson, was allowed to vote by a very surprised polling station presiding officer, as she was clearly on the electoral roll. Her vote was allowed to stand, although had there been a court scrutiny of the election result it would almost certainly have been rejected.
Member of ParliamentEdit
Thorne held his seat at every general election after the by-election before announcing he would stand down in 1929. In 1919 he was appointed joint Chief Whip of the Independent Liberals led by H H Asquith and held the post until 1923. In that year he was the Vice-Chairman of Liberal Parliamentary Party.
- Who was Who, OUP 2007
- The Times, 6.5.08
- The Times, 14.4.08
- The Times, 21.4.08
- The Times, 7.5.08
- Who was Who, OUP 2007)
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by George Rennie Thorne