Thomas Teevan (Unionist politician)

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Thomas Leslie Teevan (July 1927 – 11 October 1954) was an Ulster Unionist Party politician and lawyer, notable for his extreme youth when first elected, brief career, and very early death.


Early life

Thomas Teevan was born in Limavady, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in 1927. He was educated at Limavady Academy and Queen's University Belfast. He was a lecturer in law.

Limavady market town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Limavady is a market town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, with Binevenagh as a backdrop. Lying 17 miles (27 km) east of Derry and 14 miles (23 km) southwest of Coleraine, Limavady had a population of 12,043 people as of the 2001 Census—an increase of some 17% since 1991. In the 30 years between 1971 and 2011, Limavady's population nearly doubled. Limavady is within Causeway Coast and Glens Borough.

County Londonderry Place in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

County Londonderry, also known as County Derry, is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. Prior to the partition of Ireland, it was one of the counties of the Kingdom of Ireland from 1613 onward and then of the United Kingdom after the Acts of Union 1800. Adjoining the north-west shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,074 km² and today has a population of about 247,132.

Northern Ireland Part of the United Kingdom lying in the north-east of the island of Ireland, created 1921

Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in several areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments".

Brief political career

In 1950, a vacancy arose in the Belfast West constituency, owing to the disqualification of the Reverend J. G. MacManaway for being an Anglican priest despite the Church of Ireland being disestablished. Teevan was selected as Unionist candidate for the ensuing by-election.

Belfast West (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Belfast West is a parliamentary constituency (seat) in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament. It has won by Paul Maskey of Sinn Féin since 2011. In 2017 it ranked the most secure of Northern Ireland's 18 seats by percentage and/or numerical tally of its winning majority, followed by North Down and by North Antrim respectively.

James Godfrey MacManaway, MBE was a British Unionist politician and Church of Ireland cleric, notable for being disqualified as a Member of Parliament, owing to his status as a priest.

There was a by-election for Belfast West constituency on 29 November 1950.

He was elected on 29 November 1950 over the Northern Ireland Labour Party candidate, Jack Beattie, a former MP for the seat, by 913 votes. Teevan was aged only 23 and became Baby of the House upon taking the oath on 5 December 1950. [1]

The Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP) was a political party in Northern Ireland which operated from 1924 until 1987.

John Beattie was a Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP) politician from Northern Ireland. He was a teacher by profession. In 1925, he became a Member of the Northern Ireland House of Commons for Belfast East. He represented Belfast Pottinger from 1929. At one point he served as leader of the NILP.

His tenure lasted only 330 days, and he lost the seat to Beattie by just 25 votes in the 1951 general election. Aged only 24, he thus became the youngest person to leave the House of Commons in modern times. MacManaway himself died in November 1951, aged 53.

1951 United Kingdom general election

The 1951 United Kingdom general election was held twenty months after the 1950 general election, which the Labour Party had won with a slim majority of just five seats. The Labour government called a snap election for Thursday 25 October 1951 hoping to increase their parliamentary majority. However, despite winning the popular vote and achieving both their highest-ever total vote and percentage vote share, Labour were defeated by the Conservative Party. This election marked the beginning of the Labour Party's thirteen-year spell in opposition, and the return of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister. This was the final general election to be held with George VI as monarch, as he died the following year on 6 February and was succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth II.

Early death

Teevan qualified as a barrister in Northern Ireland in 1952. He also served as Chairman of Limavady Urban District Council.

Barrister lawyer specialized in court representation in Wales, England and some other jurisdictions

A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, researching the philosophy, hypothesis and history of law, and giving expert legal opinions. Often, barristers are also recognised as legal scholars.

Teevan died suddenly in 1954, at his home in Portstewart, County Londonderry, aged just 27.

Portstewart small town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Portstewart is a small town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 8,029 people in the 2011 Census. It is a seaside resort neighbouring Portrush. Its harbour and scenic coastal paths form an Atlantic promenade leading to 2 miles of golden strand. Portstewart is probably best known for this sandy beach, popular with surfers.

See also


  1. "Search: teevan (Hansard)". Retrieved 23 May 2012.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
J. G. MacManaway
Member of Parliament for Belfast West
November 19501951
Succeeded by
Jack Beattie
Preceded by
Tony Benn
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Tony Benn