‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Monday, 21 January 2013

Who was the most prolific defector? Not Churchill.

Everyone remembers Winston Churchill’s ‘ratting’ and ‘re-ratting’ between the Conservative Party and the Liberals. But, Churchill was not the most prolific defector. 

This title goes to Edgar Granville, who had five changes of party label to his name. He was first elected to the House of Commons for Eye in Suffolk as a Liberal in 1929. In 1931 he became a Liberal National, but left to sit as an independent during the war, before returning to the Liberals just before the 1945 election. After losing his seat in the Liberals’ worst general election performance in 1951, he joined the Labour Party. Granville was never re-elected as an MP, but he was created a Labour peer. However, his allegiance to the Labour Party did not last and he ended his days as a cross-bencher – and he had a lot of days. He lived to be 100 years old, dying just two days after his centenary.

Edgar Granville was thus the most prolific defector and the longest lived. According to my research, defection was, on average, a career-enhancing move, but not much of a life-enhancing measure. Defectors on average survived to the age of 74, just one year longer than party loyalists.

1 comment:

  1. I realise you are only talking about MPs, but check Damian Hockney on Wikipedia. He has been a member of FIVE different parties!