Harold John Tennant PC (18 November 1865 – 9 November 1935), often known as Jack Tennant, was a Scottish Liberal politician. He served as Secretary for Scotland under his brother-in-law H. H. Asquith between July and December 1916.
Harold Tennant, from photo in Scotland Office
|Secretary for Scotland|
9 July 1916 – 5 December 1916
|Prime Minister||H. H. Asquith|
|Preceded by||Thomas McKinnon Wood|
|Succeeded by||Robert Munro|
|Born||18 November 1865|
The Glen, Innerleithen, Peeblesshire, Scotland
|Died||9 December 1935 69)(aged|
|Alma mater||Trinity College, Cambridge|
Background and education
Born at The Glen, Innerleithen, Peeblesshire, Tennant was a younger son of Sir Charles Tennant, 1st Baronet, by his first wife Emma, daughter of Richard Winsloe. He was the brother of Edward Tennant, 1st Baron Glenconner and Margot Asquith (and hence the brother-in-law of H. H. Asquith) and the half-brother of Baroness Elliot of Harwood. He was educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Tennant was Assistant Private Secretary to his brother-in-law H. H. Asquith while the latter was Home Secretary between 1892 and 1895. In 1894 he was elected Member of Parliament for Berwickshire. Asquith became Prime Minister in 1908 and in January 1909 he appointed Tennant Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. Tennant remained in this office until 1911, and then served under Asquith as Financial Secretary to the War Office from 1911 to 1912 and as Under-Secretary of State for War from 1912 to 1916. In 1914 he was sworn of the Privy Council. He entered the cabinet as Secretary for Scotland under Asquith in July 1916, a post he held until Asquith was ousted as Prime Minister in December 1916. Tennant did not serve under David Lloyd George.
At the 1918 general election, the Berwickshire constituency was abolished, and Tennant contested the new Berwickshire and Haddingtonshire constituency. He faced two opponents: R. W. Foulis of the Labour Party, and the 1911–1918 Haddingtonshire MP John Deans Hope. With two incumbent Liberal MPs contesting one seat, Hope's receipt of the coalition coupon secured his victory, with 54% of the votes. Tennant came a poor third, with only 16% of the votes.
During his time in Parliament, Tennant supported a number of progressive measures such as worker’s compensation, minimum wage provisions, school medical inspections, factory inspections, and unemployment insurance.
He married factory inspector May Abraham in 1896. Tennant bought Great Maytham Hall, Rolvenden, Kent in 1910. He commissioned Edwin Lutyens to rebuild the hall at a cost of £24,000. As leader of the war memorial committee, he also engaged Lutyens to design the Rolvenden War Memorial, erected in 1922.
Tennant died in November 1935, aged 70.
- "Tennant, Harold John [Jack] (1865-1935), politician". www.oxforddnb.com. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/58263. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
- thepeerage.com Rt. Hon. Harold John Tennant
- "Tennant, Harold John (TNNT885HJ)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Betts, Robin (1999). Doctor Macnamara, 1861-1931. Liverpool University Press. p. 385 (endnote). ISBN 0853238634. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
- leighrayment.com Bedford to Berwick upon Tweed
- leighrayment.com Privy Counsellors 1836-1914
- "No. 29667". The London Gazette. 14 July 1916. p. 6975.
- Craig, F. W. S. (1983) . British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 629. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
- The Times, 8 December 1923
- Tyzack, Anna (1 July 2009). "The Secret Garden for sale". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
- Historic England. "Rolvenden War Memorial (1381140)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
- Torrance, David, The Scottish Secretaries (Birlinn 2006)
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Harold Tennant
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Hon. Edward Marjoribanks
| Member of Parliament for Berwickshire
|Constituency renamed |
Berwick and Haddington
| Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade
J. M. Robertson
Francis Dyke Acland
| Financial Secretary to the War Office
J. E. B. Seely
| Under-Secretary of State for War
The Earl of Derby
Thomas McKinnon Wood
| Secretary for Scotland
July - December 1916