restricted access The Rise and Decline of the Medical Member: Doctors and Parliament in Edwardian and Interwar Britain

This paper challenges the view that British medical parliamentarians were a rare breed whose limited presence was felt most during the late-Victorian period. Focused on the interwar "movement" for a medical lobby in Parliament, it identifies 159 medical candidates (of whom 72 were elected). It traces the motivations of the British Medical Association in promoting this movement, and shows how the BMA's goals were subverted in part by the identity interests and agendas of the medical men and women who sought election. The paper also highlights some of the alternative political strategies that the profession attempted to use to promote its interests. In addition to providing a window on the culture and politics of British medicine in the interwar period, it explains why the place of doctors in the House of Commons cannot be seen as contributing to the emergence of professional society as defined by Harold Perkin.