Robert Harcourt, known as John, became the director of F. E. Harcourt and Company coal merchants. He was High Sheriff of Belfast in 1949, and later in the year unsuccessfully stood as the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) candidate for South Down. Soon after this, John William Nixon, the independent Unionist MP for Belfast Woodvale, died. Harcourt stood in the ensuing by-election on 4 April 1950 and was elected.
Harcourt was an active member of the Orange Order and a Member of the prestigious Belfast lodge, Royal York LOL 145.
|Parliament of Northern Ireland|
John William Nixon
| Member of Parliament for Belfast Woodvale
James Henry Norritt
| High Sheriff of Belfast
Stuart Knox Henry
| Lord Mayor of Belfast