Glasgow Camlachie by-election, 1948
Stephen had been elected for the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in the 1945 general election, and had held the seat for them since 1935. However, he resigned the ILP whip in 1947, and later that year joined the Labour Party - for which he had held the seat from 1922 until 1931.
The ILP had achieved a fairly close victory over the Unionist Party in the seat in a two-way fight at the 1945 general election. Since then, its most prominent figure, James Maxton, had died. The party won the subsequent by-election, but all three of its MPs had since defected to the Labour Party. With the ILP in sharp decline, and given that the Labour Party intended to contest the seat, commentators did not expect the ILP to hold the seat, and concluded that it would be a Labour-Unionist contest. The ILP stood Annie Maxton, sister of James.
UK-wide, Labour had won a large victory at the 1945 general election, and the Conservatives had not gained a single seat since. However, given their strong second place in Camlachie in 1945, and the left divided, they hoped to gain the seat. They stood Charles McFarlane, a local factory owner.
Despite having no background in the constituency, the Scottish National Party and Liberal Party also stood candidates. Guy Aldred, a well known local anarcho-communist stood for his United Socialist Movement on an abstentionist anti-Parliamentary platform.
The election was won narrowly by McFarlane for the Unionists. Labour came a close second, but were warned by the Manchester Guardian "Camlachie's chief warning is ... that a government candidate cannot even rouse the slums". The ILP vote declined dramatically, and demonstrated that the party was no longer a significant political force. The SNP took a close fourth place, while the Liberals came in sixth, beaten even by Aldred. This is the worst Liberal placing in any British by-election since World War II, equalled only by the Hamilton South by-election, 1999.
|Glasgow Camlachie by-election, 1948|
|Unionist||Charles McFarlane||11,085||43.7||+ 1.4|
|Labour||John M. Inglis||10,690||42.1||N/A|
|Ind. Labour Party||Annie Maxton||1,622||6.4||- 51.3|
|SNP||Robert B. Wilkie||1,320||5.2||N/A|
|United Socialist Movement||Guy Aldred||345||1.4||N/A|
|Unionist gain from Ind. Labour Party||Swing||26.4|
- Scottish Political Timeline 1945 - 1967
- Matthew Leeke, UK Election Statistics: 1945 - 2003
- "Labor Loses One!", TIME Magazine