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Stephen Furness (Sunderland MP)

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Name  Stephen Furness

Stephen Noel Furness (18 December 1902 – 14 April 1974), was a British barrister and Liberal National politician. He was Member of Parliament for Sunderland from 1935-1945. From 1938-1940 he was a junior Lord of the Treasury.



Furness was born the second son of Sir Stephen Wilson Furness, who was Liberal MP for The Hartlepools. He was younger brother of Sir Christopher Furness, 2nd Baronet. He was educated at Charterhouse School and Oriel College, Oxford.

Professional career

Furness was Called to Bar by Middle Temple in 1927.

Political career

Furness was Liberal candidate for The Hartlepools division of Durham at the 1929 General Election. His father had represented this constituency for the Liberals from 1910-14. The Liberals had lost the seat to the Unionists at the previous election in 1924 by about 3,000 votes. A UK-wide Liberal revival in 1929 helped Furness, but not enough for him to re-take the seat, falling just 138 votes short. He was re-selected by the local Liberal Association to contest the following general election.

In 1931, following the economic crisis, a National Government was formed that included both Liberals and Conservatives. A snap election was called and Liberals were encouraged not to oppose sitting Conservative MPs. Furness thus withdrew as Liberal candidate on 14 October, just 13 days before polling day. Four years later, his personal sacrifice for the National Government was rewarded when he was chosen as a Liberal National candidate for the dual member seat of Sunderland. The Conservatives won both seats in 1931 when there were no Liberals standing. In 1935 one of those MPs retired and Furness was chosen to run in harness with the other Conservative. With no opposition Liberal candidates standing, he was easily elected, topping the poll.

In parliament he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Sir John Simon, the Liberal National Leader, from 1936–37. He was an Assistant Government Whip from 1937–38 and a Junior Lord of the Treasury from 1938–40. When the National Government of Neville Chamberlain fell in 1940 and Winston Churchill formed his Coalition Government, Furness went to the back benches. At the end of the war, he ran for re-election, again as a Liberal National in harness with a Conservative. However, this time he was defeated as the country turned to the Labour Party. He did not stand for parliament again.


Stephen Furness (Sunderland MP) Wikipedia

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