- Malcolm St Clair (politician)
After leaving school, St. Clair joined the Royal Armoured Corps as a trooper, and in 1946 he was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Scots Greys. He left the Army in 1948 and served as honorary secretary to Winston Churchill from 1948 to 1950, before returning to run his family's dairy farm at Tetbury in Gloucestershire.
In June 1955, St Clair was married to Rosalie Alice, daughter of Wing-Commander C.L. Hargreaves. The same year, St. Clair stood unsuccessfully as a Conservative candidate at the London County Council elections, in Islington East. At the 1959 general election, he stood as Conservative candidate in the Bristol South East, but lost to the sitting Labour Member of Parliament MP Tony Benn, whose majority was nearly 6,000 votes. However, Benn's father died in November 1960, and Benn inherited his peerage as Viscount Stansgate, with its automatic seat in the House of Lords. This disqualified Benn from the House of Commons, triggering a by-election on 4 May 1961. Benn and St Clair were the only two candidates, and Benn was elected with a majority of over 13,000, winning nearly 70% of the votes. However, an Election Court overturned the result on the grounds that Benn was disqualified. St. Clair's campaign proved that they had displayed posters near every polling station warning voters that Benn was disqualified and that any votes for him would be thrown away, and so the court awarded the seat to St. Clair without ordering another election.
Outside Parliament Benn continued to campaign for a change in the law to allow him to continue as an MP, and eventually the Conservative government agreed. The Peerage Act 1963, allowing the disclaming of peerages, was given the Royal Assent and became law shortly after 6 p.m. on 31 July 1963. Benn was the first peer to disclaim his title, at 6.22 p.m. that day. St. Clair had already given an undertaking that he would respect the wishes of the people of Bristol if Benn became eligible to take his seat again, and therefore immediately "took the Chiltern Hundreds" by applying for the position of Steward of the Manor of Northstead, causing another by-election. St. Clair did not stand, and on 20 August 1963 Benn won the by-election with over 75% of the votes.
Malcolm St Clair lived at Upton House, Tetbury, Gloucestershire. He served in the Territorial Army as a Major in the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, and as Lieutenant-Colonel from 1967 to 1969. He was High Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1972. His London house was at 28 Chesham Place, and as a former officer in the Scots Greys he was a member of the Cavalry Club.
- ^ a b c d M. Stenton and S. Lees (eds), Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume IV 1945–1979, Harvester Press, 1981, p. 325
- ^ Malcolm St. Clair's election literature, 1961
- ^ Not updated: UK General Election results: October 1959
- ^ 1961 By Elections
- ^ 1963 By Elections
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded by
Member of Parliament for Bristol South East
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