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Jabez Spencer Balfour (1843-1916), Controversial politician, MP for Tamworth and Burnley
Sitter in 1 portrait
Jabez Spencer Balfour was MP for Tamworth (1880-85) and for Burnley (1889-93). In 1892 he was at the centre of a scandal when the Liberator Building Society, which he set up and controlled, failed, leaving thousands of investors penniless. Instead of advancing money to home buyers, the Society had advanced money to property companies to buy properties owned by Balfour, at a high price. After the swindle was discovered, Balfour fled to Argentina. He was extradited, tried and imprisoned for fourteen years.