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John Cameron Cartwright (born 29 November 1933) is a former politician in the United Kingdom. He was a Labour and then an SDP Member of Parliament (MP) representing Woolwich East then Woolwich from the October 1974 general election to the 1992 election.

Cartwright worked as Political Secretary of the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society (R.A.C.S.) and served as a Greenwich borough councillor before standing for Parliament. He unsuccessfully contested Bexley at the 1970 general election (where he lost to Edward Heath) and Bexleyheath at the February 1974 election (where he lost to Cyril Townsend). At the October 1974 election Cartwright was elected as the Labour member for Woolwich East, replacing Christopher Mayhew who had left Labour to join the Liberal Party. Following six years as a backbench Member of Parliament and latterly Parliamentary Private Secretary to Shirley Williams, Cartwright himself left the Labour Party in 1981 to become one of the founding members of the SDP.

John Cartwright served as the SDP's chief whip from 1983 onwards and as its President from 1987 until the failure of the continuing SDP in 1990. He also served as the SDP/Liberal Alliance's chief defence spokesman from 1983 to 1987. A close political ally of David Owen, he stayed loyal to Owen and Owen's continuing SDP after the Liberal Party and a majority of the SDP merged in January 1988 to become the Liberal Democrats.

Following the collapse of the continuing SDP in 1990, Cartwright stood for re-election as an Independent Social Democrat - albeit one endorsed by the Liberal Democrats - but lost by 2,200 votes. After thus leaving active politics he went on to serve as Deputy Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority before retiring to Kent.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Christopher Mayhew
Member of Parliament for Woolwich East
October 19741983
constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Woolwich
Succeeded by
John Austin-Walker
Political offices
Preceded by
Shirley Williams
President of the Social Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Ian Wrigglesworth
President of the Liberal Democrats
John Cartwright
President of the continuing Social Democratic Party


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