Obituary: Sir Joseph Cleary

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The Independent Online
IN HIS obituary of Sir Joseph Cleary (18 February) D. Ben Rees refers to the by-election in the Liverpool Wavertree constituency in February 1935, writes Dr Alec Ellis.

Dr Rees gives the impression that Randolph Churchill was the Conservative candidate in the by- election which Cleary, the Labour candidate, won with the slim majority of 1,840. The truth is that the by-election was caused by the succession to the peerage of AR Nall-Cain, who had held this normally safe Conservative seat in 1931 with a majority of 23,973 over his Labour opponent. In February 1935 the Conservative vote was split by Randolph Churchill's standing as an Independent Conservative, thus allowing Cleary to take the seat.

Needless to say, in a straight fight at the General Election held in November 1935, the Conservatives regained the seat and Cleary's brief parliamentary career came to an end. None of this detracts from Cleary's well-earned reputation as an outstanding local politician, who gave lifelong service to both the Labour Party and the City of Liverpool.