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Seaham (UK Parliament constituency)

Seaham was a parliamentary constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was in existence between 1918 and 1950. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. Incorporating a lot of the mining area of the eastern part of County Durham around Seaham, it has a history of strong Labour Party support.

Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of membersone
Replaced byEasington and Houghton-le-Spring
Created fromSouth East Durham and part of Houghton-le-Spring



In the so-called Coupon Election of 1918, Major Evan Hayward was issued a Coalition 'coupon'. Hayward however repudiated the 'coupon' and stood as a Liberal and was elected. The following general election, in 1922, Sidney Webb, an early socialist and author of the Labour Party's then-new constitution, was returned. Webb was easily re-elected in 1923 and 1924. Sidney Webb was raised to the peerage and his successor in the parliamentary constituency was Ramsay MacDonald, the leader of the Labour Party at the time. At the 1929 general election, MacDonald won and for the second time became Prime Minister over a minority Labour administration.

The economic crisis after 1929 led to a political crisis in mid-1931 and MacDonald failed to secure agreement in cabinet for his proposed cuts in 'outdoor relief' for the unemployed. MacDonald went to see King George V who persuaded him to form a National Government. In the General Election that followed MacDonald stood in Seaham as National Labour and was comfortably elected and continued to serve as a Prime Minister of a National Government that was predominantly Conservative-supported.

MacDonald retired as Prime Minister in 1935 but remained in the Cabinet. In the general election of 1935 he was resoundingly defeated at Seaham by Emanuel Shinwell, the official candidate of the Labour Party. Shinwell was re-elected in the Labour landslide at the 1945 election, and served as MP for Easington which simply renamed the area.


The Urban District of Seaham Harbour, and the Rural District of Easington.

Members of ParliamentEdit


Elections in the 1910sEdit

General election 1918: Seaham[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Evan Hayward 12,754 58.7 n/a
Labour Jack Lawson 8,988 41.3 n/a
Majority 3,766 17.4 n/a
Turnout 59.2 n/a
Liberal win
  • Hayward had been issued with the "coalition coupon", but repudiated it.

Elections in the 1920sEdit

General election 1922: Seaham[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Sidney Webb 20,203 59.9 +18.6
Unionist Thomas Andrews Bradford 8,315 24.6 n/a
Liberal Evan Hayward 5,247 15.5 -43.2
Majority 11,888 35.3 n/a
Turnout 81.9 +22.7
Labour gain from Liberal Swing n/a
General election 1923: Seaham [1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Sidney Webb 21,281 71.3 +11.4
Unionist Ronald Ross 8,546 28.7 +4.1
Majority 12,735 42.6 +7.3
Turnout 71.3 -10.6
Labour hold Swing +3.6
General election 1924: Seaham[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Sidney Webb 22,399 65.5 -5.8
Unionist Ronald Ross 11,775 34.5 +5.8
Majority 10,624 31.0 -11.6
Turnout 78.8 +7.5
Labour hold Swing -5.8
General election 1929: Seaham[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Ramsay MacDonald 35,615 72.5 +7.0
Unionist William Arthur Fearnley-Whittingstall 6,821 13.9 -20.6
Liberal Henry Augustus Haslam 5,266 10.7 n/a
Communist Harry Pollitt 1,451 2.9 n/a
Majority 28,794 58.6 +27.6
Turnout 84.2 +5.6
Labour hold Swing +13.8

Elections in the 1930sEdit

General election 1931: Seaham[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
National Labour Ramsay MacDonald 28,978 55.0 n/a
Labour William Coxon 23,027 43.7 -28.8
Communist George Lumley 677 1.3 -1.6
Majority 5,951 11.3 n/a
Turnout 86.7 +2.5
National Labour gain from Labour Swing n/a
General election 1935: Seaham[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Manny Shinwell 38,380 68.2 +24.5
National Labour Ramsay MacDonald 17,882 31.8 -23.2
Majority 20,498 36.4 47.7
Turnout 86.3 -0.4
Labour gain from National Labour Swing +23.8

General Election 1939/40

Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1940. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by the Autumn of 1939, the following candidates had been selected;

Elections in the 1940sEdit

General election 1945: Seaham[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Manny Shinwell 42,942 80.1 +11.9
Conservative Maurice MacMillan 10,685 19.9 n/a
Majority 32,257 60.2 +23.8
Turnout 79.8 -6.5
Labour hold Swing n/a


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig (1983). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  2. ^ Report of the Annual Conference of the Labour Party, 1939

See alsoEdit