Election: When Labour won in Kirkcaldy 80 years ago

Report on Labour's victory in the 1935 GE
Report on Labour's victory in the 1935 GE

Thousands are heading out today to cast their vote for the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat in the General Election.

It would appear to be a straight fight between the SNP and Labour, who have been the dominant party in the area since 1935, though it could all change today.

80 years ago The Fife Free Press of Saturday, November 16 1935 (price two pence), waited until page nine before any mention of the previous Thursday’s General Election when Labour came back into power in the burgh.

Though the Conservative’s won UK wide with Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin taking 55 per cent of the vote, Kirkcaldy voted for Mr Thomas Kennedy, his second spell as Kirkcaldy’s Labour MP.

Mr Kennedy has previously stood from 1929-1931 before losing to his Unionist opponent Albert Russell.

This time it was Mr Kennedy who was victorious taking 19,457 votes to Mr Russell’s 14,492 and a Labour victory rally was held in the Beveridge Hall, (booked at short notice at only 4.30 p.m. that afternoon) where over 500 attended.

A Councillor J Neill said he was proud that the electors of Kirkcaldy had wakened up and realised that there was only one individual and one policy for their interests, adding they had done exceedingly well in placing their confidence in so able a man as Tom Kennedy.

Mr James Walker, president of the P & S Co-operative Society, Mrs Smith of Dunnikier Co-operative Woman’s Guild, Cllrs Lawson and Wright also added their congratulations before “it was announced that Mr Kennedy had arrived at the hall”.

“The audience cheered vociferously and while he, accompanied by Mrs Kennedy, was walking down the passage to the platform the audience sang “For he’s a jolly good fellow”.

Kirkcaldy’s new MP then received the personal congratulations of the platform party.

Mr Kennedy would stay as MP for the borough before resigning nine years later in 1944, but Kirkcaldy itself has remained a Labour stronghold ever since.

At this time the Scottish National Party was only one year old, a merger of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party and it would be another 10 years before the party first won a parliamentary seat, at the Motherwell by-election in 1945.

Polls predict that the SNP will send at least 50 MPs south of the border after tonight’s results. Whether Kirkcaldy will join them remains to be seen.