North East Lancashire (UK Parliament constituency)

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North East Lancashire
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of members two
Replaced by Accrington
Created from North Lancashire

North East Lancashire was a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The constituency was created by the Reform Act of 1867 and replaced the North Lancashire Parliamentary constituency, a county division with two seats.

It was represented by two Members of Parliament. The new North East division of Lancashire comprised the hundred of Blackburn, apart from the areas included within the Parliamentary boroughs of Burnley and Blackburn. The area of the modern Hyndburn constituency, which lies between the two towns of Burnley and Blackburn, was therefore represented by the two MPs for the North East Lancashire division as a result of these changes.

Boundary Commission Review 1868

The 1868 review carried out by the Boundary Commission followed the Representation of the People Act 1867. This Act appointed the Commission to inquire into the boundaries of the new boroughs created by the Act; the counties the Act had newly divided, and to review all other existing boroughs that had not been disenfranchised by the Act. In inquiring into existing boroughs, the Commission had the power to recommend extension of borough boundaries if it thought this was appropriate. This Act also increased the number of Members representing each of the growing industrial cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, from two to three.13 The Commissioners conducted local inquiries and reported in 1868.

In Lancashire, as well as the additional Members for Liverpool and Manchester, Salford also gained an extra seat, taking it to two Members. Burnley was created as a Parliamentary borough with the right to return a single Member. Lancaster was abolished as a Parliamentary borough as a result of corrupt practices at the previous general election. The boundaries of the following Parliamentary boroughs were altered but the number of Members remained the same as constituted by the 1832 reforms: Ashton-under-Lyne, Blackburn, Bolton, Oldham, Preston and Rochdale.

The county divisions of Lancashire were further divided. From 1868 there were four divisions of the county, each returning two Members. The boundaries were first used in the election that occurred in the November and December 1868 and they gave Lancashire a total of 32 Members of Parliament across the county. (In this review Stalybridge, which was partly in Cheshire and partly in Lancashire, was granted the status of a Parliamentary borough but is not considered part of Lancashire for this note).

The constituency was abolished by the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, being divided into the single member divisions of Accrington, Darwen and Rossendale.

Members of Parliament

  • Constituency created (1868)
Election 1st Member 1st Party 2nd Member 2nd Party
1868 James Maden Holt Conservative John Starkie Conservative
1880 Spencer Cavendish Liberal Frederick William Grafton Liberal
  • Constituency abolished (1885)


Elections in the 1860s

General election 1868: North East Lancashire[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative James Maden Holt 3,612 25.6 N/A
Conservative John Starkie 3,594 25.5 N/A
Liberal Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth 3,463 24.5 N/A
Liberal William Fenton[2] 3,441 24.4 N/A
Majority 131 0.9 N/A
Turnout 7,055 (est) 81.6 (est) N/A
Registered electors 10,250
Conservative win (new seat)
Conservative win (new seat)

Elections in the 1870s

General election 1874: North East Lancashire[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative James Maden Holt 4,578 25.8 +0.2
Conservative John Starkie 4,488 25.3 −0.2
Liberal James Kay-Shuttleworth[3] 4,401 24.8 +0.3
Liberal Edward Cavendish 4,297 24.2 −0.2
Majority 87 0.5 −0.4
Turnout 8,882 (est) 86.7 (est) +5.1
Registered electors 10,250
Conservative hold Swing +0.2
Conservative hold Swing −0.3

Elections in the 1880s

General election 1880: North East Lancashire[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Spencer Cavendish 6,682 28.3 +3.5
Liberal Frederick William Grafton 6,513 27.6 +3.4
Conservative William Farrer Ecroyd 5,231 22.2 −3.6
Conservative John Starkie 5,185 22.0 −3.3
Majority 1,282 5.4 N/A
Turnout 11,806 (est) 90.9 (est) +4.2
Registered electors 12,991
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +3.6
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +3.4

Cavendish was appointed Secretary of State for India, requiring a by-election.

By-election, 17 May 1880: North East Lancashire[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Spencer Cavendish Unopposed
Liberal hold


  1. ^ a b c d Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (e-book)|format= requires |url= (help) (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. p. 409. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
  2. ^ "North East Lancashire". Rochdale Observer. 14 November 1868. p. 7. Retrieved 21 February 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  3. ^ "North-East Lancashire". Manchester Times. 31 January 1874. pp. 6–7. Retrieved 4 January 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.


  • Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "L" (part 1)
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