The by-election was caused by the elevation to the peerage of the sitting Liberal MP, Captain Cecil Norton. Although a relatively marginal seat, the Unionists abided by the wartime political truce and gave the Liberals a free run. However, the new Liberal candidate, J.D. Gilbert, was opposed by a militant trades unionist and socialist, Joe Terrett, standing on the single issue of opposing the Liquor Traffic Central Control Board. Gilbert safely held the seat although Terrett’s idiosyncratic platform still attracted almost one-quarter of the vote.