John Barnes, Historian

Posthumous Victories

It is not unknown for candidates to die in the course of the General Election campaign and that renders the election null and void as far as that seat is concerned. On at least four occasions, however, a General Election candidate has won the parliamentary seat he was contesting, but has died before the result was declared. The earliest case was that of an Irish Nationalist candidate, Thomas Higgins, who died in the early hours of the morning following the day of the poll in the 1906 General Election. The other three cases were all Conservatives. Noel Skelton was dying of cancer when he contested the Scottish Universities seat in the 1935 election. He died on 22 November 1935 and three days later was declared elected. Two Conservative members, Sir Edward Campbell and Leslie Pym, secured re-election in 1945, but the declaration of the poll had been delayed to allow for the counting of the Service vote. Both men died on 17 July, twelve days after polling day, and when the results were announced on 26 July they were declared posthumously elected.