Kensington South by-election, 1968

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The Kensington South by-election, 1968 by-election was held in the Kensington South constituency of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom on 14 March 1968. The election was to fill a vacancy in the seat formerly held by Conservative MP William Roots, who resigned from Parliament in 1968 due to ill health.

The seat was considered a safe seat for the Conservatives ('as safe and solid as the red-brick Victorian blocks of flats', wrote the Times); at the 1966 general election Roots was elected with 65.1 percent of the vote and a majority of 14,631. Turnout was expected to be low as the constituency had a large transient population living in bedsits and flats.[1]

The Conservative Sir Brandon Rhys-Williams, a management consultant, won the seat with 75.5 percent of the vote and a slightly reduced majority (13,747) on a much reduced turnout. The Liberal candidate Thomas Kellock, a QC who had fought the seat at the previous general election, came in a distant second, with Labour candidate Clive Bradley, a barrister and journalist, forced into third place and losing his deposit.[2] There were two independent candidates who received the fewest number of vote: Sinclair Eustace, 37, a teacher of phonetics and a campaigner against aircraft noise, described by the Times as 'perhaps the most civilized and likeable' of all the candidates but with a platform very close to that of the Liberal Party; and William Gold, 45, and engineer and 'a Buddhist, anti-vivisectionist, periodic vegetarian and author of at least six unpublished novels' who had only just returned to the UK after living in Australia.[3]


By-Election 14 March 1968: Kensington South
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Sir Brandon Rhys-Williams 16,489 75.5
Liberal Thomas Oslaf Kellock 2,742 12.6
Labour Clive Bradley 1,874 8.6
Independent Sinclair Eustace 675 3.1
Independent William Gold 59 0.3
Majority 13,747 63.0
Turnout 40.0
Conservative hold Swing


  1. ^ Young, John (2 March 1968). "Bedsitter vote being wooed: Multiple clash a puzzle". The Times. 
  2. ^ "Tories sweep in at Kensington Labour candidate loses deposit in low poll", The Times, 15 March 1968.
  3. ^ "Far From Madding Parties", The Times, 7 March 1968.