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1903 Argyllshire by-election

1903 Argyllshire by-election

The Argyllshire by-election was a Parliamentary by-election. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post voting system.


Donald Ninian Nicol had been Conservative MP for the seat of Argyllshire since the 1895 general election. He died on 27 July 1903 at the age of 60.[1]

Electoral history

The seat had been Conservative since they gained it in 1895. They easily held the seat at the last election, with an increased majority;

John Ainsworth
General election January 1900[2] Electorate 10,405
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Donald Nicol (MP) 3,834 54.2
Liberal John Stirling Ainsworth 3,234 45.8
Majority 600 8.4
Turnout 7,068
Conservative hold Swing


The local Conservative Association selected 63-year-old Charles Stewart as their candidate to defend the seat. He was a solicitor.[3]

The local Liberal Association selected 59-year-old John Stirling Ainsworth as their candidate to gain the seat. Ainsworth contested the Barrow-in-Furness constituency at the 1886 general election and Argyllshire in 1900. He commanded the 3rd Volunteer Battalion, the Border Regiment from 1898-1902.[4]


Polling Day was fixed for the 26 August 1903, just 30 days after the previous MP died.


The Liberals gained the seat from the Conservatives;

1903 Argyllshire by-election[5] Electorate 10,643
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal John Stirling Ainsworth 4,326 61.2
Conservative Charles Stewart 2,740 38.8
Majority 1,586 22.4 N/A
Turnout 7,066 66.4
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing


At the following General Election the result was;

General election January 1906[6] Electorate 11,216
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal John Stirling Ainsworth 4,507 59.9
Conservative George Hutchison 3,012 40.1
Majority 1,495 19.8
Turnout 7,519 67.0
Liberal hold Swing


  1. Who Was Who
  2. British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig
  3. Who Was Who
  4. Who Was Who
  5. British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig
  6. British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig
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