Combined Scottish Universities by-election, 1946

The Combined Scottish Universities by-election, 1946 was a by-election held from 22 November to 27 November 1946 for the Combined Scottish Universities, a university constituency of the British House of Commons.

It was the last election for a university constituency of the UK Parliament; the Combined Scottish Universities was abolished along with the other university seats for the 1950 general election.


The seat had become vacant on 16 October 1946 when the independent Member of Parliament (MP) Sir John Boyd Orr had resigned by the procedural device of accepting the post of Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, a notional 'office of profit under the crown' which is used as a procedural device to enable MPs to resign from the Commons. After his resignation, Boyd took up the position of Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He had held the seat he was first elected at a by-election in 1945.


Five candidates contested the by-election, none of whom had stood in 1945.

The Unionist candidate was Walter Elliot, who had been MP for Glasgow Kelvingrove for more than 20 years, until his narrow defeat at the 1945 general election. He had been Secretary of State for Scotland from 1936 to 1938.

The Labour Party candidate was the philosopher and broadcaster C. E. M. Joad. The Liberal Party fielded J. M. Bannerman, who had contested Argyll in 1945, and the National Liberals nominated Dr R. S. Stevenson, who had stood in West Fife in 1945.

The fifth candidate was J. G. Jameson, a member of the Federal Union who stood as an advocate of the policies of the Federal Union, although the union did not endorse his candidacy.


The result was a clear victory for the Unionist candidate, Walter Elliot, who won over 68% of the votes, and a majority of more than 50% over the second-placed Labour candidate. Elliot held the seat until the university constituencies were abolished for the 1950 general election.


Combined Scottish Universities by-election, 22-27 November 1946[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Walter Elliot 22,152 68.2 +64.0
Labour C. E. M. Joad 3,731 11.5 +2.8
Liberal John Bannerman 2,593 8.0 +2.3
Independent J. G. Jameson 2,080 6.4 N/A
Liberal National Dr R. S. Stevenson 1,938 5.9 N/A
Majority 18,421 56.7
Turnout 32,494 50.7 0.9
Unionist gain from National Swing N/A

See also


  1. "1946 By Election Results". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2015-08-12.


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