He first stood for election to the House of Commons in December 1852, when he was unsuccessful at a by-election for the City of Durham. He was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Sunderland at a by-election in January 1855, and held the seat until February 1866, when he was appointed as Civil Lord of the Admiralty and was defeated in the resulting by-election.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 6)
- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 118. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
- Craig, page 296
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Henry Fenwick
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Sunderland
With: George Hudson 1855–1859
William Schaw Lindsay 1859–1865
James Hartley 1865–1866
| Civil Lord of the Admiralty
Lord John Hay
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