West Down (UK Parliament constituency)

West Down was a UK Parliament constituency in Ireland which returned one Member of Parliament from 1885 to 1922, using the first past the post electoral system.

West Down
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
18851922
Number of membersOne
Replaced byDown
Created fromDown

Boundaries and Boundary Changes

This county constituency was first created in 1885 from the western part of Down. There was a boundary change altering this division in 1918, when the new Mid Down constituency was created, and West Down was redefined.

1885–1918: The baronies of Lower Iveagh, Lower Half, and Lower Iveagh, Upper Half, and that part of the barony of Iveagh Upper, Upper Half lying within the parishes of Aghaderg, Annaclone and Seapatrick.'.[1]

1918–1922: The rural district of Moira; the part of the rural district of Banbridge which is not included in the East Down constituency; and the urban districts of Banbridge and Dromore.'.[2]

Maps showing the component units of the constituency can be seen here.

Prior to the 1885 United Kingdom general election and after the dissolution of Parliament in 1922 the area was part of the Down constituency.

Politics

The constituency was strongly unionist in 1918, when Sinn Féin only polled 1,725 votes. Two subsequent by-elections produced unopposed returns for the Unionist candidates.

The First Dáil

Sinn Féin contested the general election of 1918 on the platform that instead of taking up any seats they won in the United Kingdom Parliament, they would establish a revolutionary assembly in Dublin. In republican theory every MP elected in Ireland was a potential Deputy to this assembly. In practice only the Sinn Féin members accepted the offer.

The revolutionary First Dáil assembled on 21 January 1919 and last met on 10 May 1921. The First Dáil, according to a resolution passed on 10 May 1921, was formally dissolved on the assembling of the Second Dáil. This took place on 16 August 1921.

In 1921 Sinn Féin decided to use the UK authorised elections for the Northern Ireland House of Commons and the House of Commons of Southern Ireland as a poll for the Irish Republic's Second Dáil. This area, in republican theory, was incorporated in an eight-member Dáil constituency of Down.

Members of Parliament

ElectionMemberParty
1885 Lord Arthur Hill Conservative
1886 Irish Unionist
1898(b) Arthur Hill Irish Unionist
1905(b) Harry Liddell Irish Unionist
1907(b) Lord Arthur William Hill Irish Unionist
1908(b) William MacCaw Irish Unionist
1918 Daniel Martin Wilson Irish Unionist
May 1921 Ulster Unionist
1921(b) Thomas Browne Wallace Ulster Unionist
1922(b) Hugh Hayes Ulster Unionist
1922 constituency abolished

Elections

Elections in the 1880s

General election 1885: West Down[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Conservative Lord Arthur Hill Unopposed
Irish Conservative win (new seat)
General election 1886: West Down[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist Lord Arthur Hill 6,589 84.6 N/A
Irish Parliamentary John Baptish McHugh 1,199 15.4 N/A
Majority 5,390 69.2 N/A
Turnout 7,788 80.3 N/A
Registered electors 9,695
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A

Hill was re-elected Comptroller of the Household, requiring a by-election.

1886 West Down by-election[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist Lord Arthur Hill Unopposed
Irish Unionist hold

Elections in the 1890s

General election 1892: West Down[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist Lord Arthur Hill Unopposed
Irish Unionist hold
General election 1895: West Down[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist Lord Arthur Hill Unopposed
Irish Unionist hold
  • Hill resigned.
1898 West Down by-election[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist Arthur Hill Unopposed
Irish Unionist hold

Elections in the 1900s

General election 1900: West Down[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist Arthur Hill Unopposed
Irish Unionist hold
  • Hill resigns.
1905 West Down by-election[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Unionist Harry Liddell 4,037 57.2 N/A
Independent Unionist Andrew Beattie 3,015 42.8 N/A
Majority 1,022 14.4 N/A
Turnout 7,052 85.4 N/A
Registered electors 8,254
Liberal Unionist hold Swing N/A
General election 1906: West Down[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist Harry Liddell Unopposed
Irish Unionist hold
  • Liddell resigns.
1907 West Down by-election[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist Lord Arthur Hill 3,702 55.9 N/A
Independent Unionist Andrew Beattie 2,918 44.1 N/A
Majority 784 11.8 N/A
Turnout 6,620 79.1 N/A
Registered electors 8,369
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A
  • Hill resigns.
1908 West Down by-election[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist William MacCaw 4,051 59.5 N/A
Independent Unionist Andrew Beattie 2,760 40.5 N/A
Majority 1,291 19.0 N/A
Turnout 6,811 82.7 N/A
Registered electors 8,233
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1910s

General election January 1910: West Down[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist William MacCaw Unopposed
Irish Unionist hold
General election December 1910: West Down[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist William MacCaw Unopposed
Irish Unionist hold
General Election 14 December 1918: West Down[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish Unionist Daniel Martin Wilson 10,559 85.7 N/A
Sinn Féin Bernard Campbell 1,725 14.0 N/A
Majority 8,834 71.7 N/A
Turnout 12,284 68.3 N/A
Registered electors 17,997
Irish Unionist hold Swing N/A
1921 West Down by-election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
UUP Thomas Browne Wallace Unopposed
UUP hold
1922 West Down by-election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
UUP Hugh Hayes Unopposed
UUP hold

See also

References

  1. Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, (Ch 23) Seventh Schedule, Part III - Ireland - County of Down
  2. Redistribution of Seats (Ireland) Act, 1918, (Ch 65) Fourth Schedule,
  3. Walker, B.M., ed. (1978). Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland, 1801-1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. ISBN 0901714127.
  • Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland, 1801–1922, edited by B.M. Walker (Royal Irish Academy 1978)
  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume II 1886–1918, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (The Harvester Press 1978)
  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume III 1919–1945, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (The Harvester Press 1979)
  • Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "D" (part 3)
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