THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Minister endorses Major Blakiston-Houston but warns against Socialist candidates

From the News Letter, May 16, 1929

By Darryl Armitage
Sunday, 16th May 2021, 6:00 am
Broughan Street, Belfast. Picture: Google
Broughan Street, Belfast. Picture: Google

Major Charles Blakiston-Houston, the Official Unionist candidate for the Dock Division of Belfast in the May 1929 election had secured the endorsement of the Minister of Labour, the Right Honourable John Miller Andrews reported the News Letter on this day in 1929.

The minister gave his endorsement to Maj Blakiston-Houston during a meeting which was held the North-East Unionist Clubroom, Broughan Street in Belfast.

He said: “Major Blakiston-Houston will use his influence with the Government in order to make Ulster a happier and more prosperous place to live in. Neither of his [Maj Blakiston-Houston’s] opponents, if returned, would have any influence with the Government.”

Indeed, Mr Andrews went so far to warn voters against one opponent of Maj Blakiston-Houston, a Mr James Woods Gyle (the Independent Unionist candidate and a publican wine merchant), who the minister claimed would “open the public houses on Sunday . . . would scrap the Act of 1923, which had helped make Northern Ireland one of the most temperate places in His Majesty’s dominions”.

The meeting was also an opportunity for the minister to warn the Ulster electorate against voting for socialist candidates.

He said: “I do not know why an Ulsterman or woman should support the Socialist party. The Socialist party he is undoubtedly allied to the Socialist party in Great Britain, which is has opposed Ulster’s interests on every possible occasion.”

He added: “They have tried to drive Ulster under a Dublin Parliament and they would put her under a Dublin Parliament if they had the opportunity.”