Walter James, last surviving Liberal Party candidate from the 1945 General Election, dies aged 103

The Times (£) has reported the death of Walter James, who was the Liberal Party candidate for Bury in the 1945 General Election. As such, he is thought to be the last Liberal candidate from 1945 to pass on, leaving, it is believed, just two candidates surviving from that election, both of them from the Labour party: Denis Healey and Jeremy Hutchinson, now Baron Hutchinson of Lullington.

A journalist, Walter James was on the editorial staff of the Guardian in Manchester from 1937 until 1946. He was a highly distinguished editor of The Times Educational Supplement from 1952 to 1969, doubling its sales. He worked for The Times from 1947 to 1971. He is described by that newspaper as a “lively defender of grammar schools”. Mr James wrote an article for The Sunday Times (£) on his 100th birthday.

Wikipedia records:

Both James and his first wife, Elisabeth Howroyd were active in politics for the Liberal Party in the Manchester area. He took a particular interest in the Liberal policy of Profit sharing. He was Liberal candidate for the Bury Division of Lancashire at the 1945 General Election. After the election he was re-adopted by the Bury Liberal Association to contest the seat again and remained PPC through to 1947 when he moved to London. Following boundary changes, the seat was abolished and he did not stand for parliament again.

We extend our sincere sympathies to Mr James’ family and friends.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in News and Obituaries.


  • A strange coincidence here. Denis Healey lives in Alfriston, which is on the opposite side of the Cuckmere valley from Lullington, whence Jeremy Hutchinson takes his title. The villages are just 15 minutes walk apart, if one uses the footbridge. A couple of interesting footnotes on Jeremy Hutchinson. (1) He was on the defense team in the Lady Chatterley trial, and (2) he is the uncle of Jacob Rothschild.

  • Richard Underhill 29th Aug '15 - 8:10pm
  • Richard Underhill 29th Aug '15 - 8:14pm

    Enid Lakeman was a Liberal or Liberal Democrat throughout her life.
    She was campaigning in local elections on frosty pavements while drafting policy presentations to IPPR.

  • Graem Peters 22nd Mar '21 - 8:22am

    For the record, he was not the last surviving Liberal candidate from 1945. That record appears to be held Nelia Muspratt who died on 16 August 2017.

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