Barking by-election, 1994

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The Barking by-election was held on 9 June 1994, following the death of Labour Party Member of Parliament for Barking Jo Richardson. Richardson had represented the seat since the February 1974 general election, following Tom Driberg.

The seat had been continuously held by Labour since it was created in 1945, and Richardson had retained her seat comfortably at the 1992 general election with an increased majority of over 6,000. Margaret Hodge, leader of Islington London Borough Council from 1982 to 1992, was selected as the Labour candidate and was the clear favourite to hold the seat at the by-election.

The Conservative Party had taken second place in 1992. John Kennedy, the candidate in 1992, went on to contest (and lose) Halesowen and Rowley Regis in the 1997 general election, but was not selected to fight the 1994 by-election, the Conservative nomination going instead to Theresa May. She had been a councillor in the London Borough of Merton from 1986 to 1994, and had stood (and lost) in the safe Labour seat of North West Durham in 1992. Having lost two of the three previous by-elections of the Parliament to the Liberal Democrats, and failing to challenge Labour in the third, the Conservatives were not hopeful of gaining ground.

The Liberal Democrat candidate, Steve Churchman, had taken little more than a tenth of the votes cast in 1992, continuing a downward track since 1983. A new candidate, Garry White, at 21 the youngest parliamentary by-election candidate chosen by a British political party since universal suffrage, was chosen for the by-election.

Three other candidates stood: Gary Needs of the National Front, Gerard Batten of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), and H. R. Butensky of the Natural Law Party.

Results[edit]

As expected, Hodge won the seat easily, with the Labour majority almost doubling, despite a turnout below 40%. The Liberal Democrats share of the votes declined slightly, but they still managed to push the Conservatives into third place, as they had a month before in Rotherham. The other three candidates all lost their deposits.

At the 1997 UK general election, Hodge retained the seat with an increased majority. May went on to be elected as MP for Maidenhead in 1997. Two other candidates in Barking in 1994 also stood in 1997: Needs contested Devon East for the National Democrats, and Batten contested Harlow for UKIP: both again secured only a few hundred votes. Batten was elected as a UKIP Member of the European Parliament for London in 2004.

Barking by-election, 1994
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Margaret Hodge 13,704 72.1 +20.5
Liberal Democrat Garry White 2,290 12.0 -2.5
Conservative Theresa May 1,976 10.4 -23.5
National Front Gary Needs 551 2.9 N/A
UKIP Gerard Batten 406 2.1 N/A
Natural Law H. R. Butensky 90 0.5 N/A
Majority 11,414 42.4 +20.5
Turnout 49,635 38.3 -31.7
Labour hold Swing +11.5
General Election 1992: Barking
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Jo Richardson 18,224 51.6 +7.3
Conservative John G. Kennedy 11,956 33.9 -0.6
Liberal Democrat Steve W. Churchman 5,133 14.5 -6.7
Majority 6,268 17.7 +7.9
Turnout 50,480 70.0 +3.1
Labour hold Swing 4.0

See also[edit]

References[edit]