Leeds Central by-election, 1999
The Member of Parliament for Leeds Central, the Rt. Hon. Derek Fatchett, (Labour) died suddenly on 9 May 1999. The Labour Party rushed to organise for the by-election and moved the writ so that the election could be held on 10 June, the same day as elections to the European Parliament.
The shortlist for the Labour candidacy included the Chair of Leeds Central Constituency Labour Party, Maggie Giles-Hill, and Shahid Malik, but the selection went to Hilary Benn who had been Special Adviser to David Blunkett, then Secretary of State for Education and Employment. The Conservatives chose their general election candidate Edward Wild. The Liberal Democrats provided the strongest challenge and increased their vote by nearly 20%, but this was not enough to take the seat.
The campaign was subsumed with the European Parliament elections, and the result was an all-time low turnout for a by-election: at 19.9% it held the record for the lowest turnout in a UK parliamentary by-election in peacetime since 1918, until surpassed in 2012 by the Manchester Central by-election.
|Leeds Central by-election, 1999|
|Liberal Democrat||Peter Wild||4,068||30.8||+19.6|
|Leeds Left Alliance||Chris Hill||258||2.0||N/A|
General Election result, 1997
|General Election 1997: Leeds Central|
|Liberal Democrat||David Freeman||4,164||11.3|
|Referendum Party||Philip Myers||1,042||2.8||N/A|
|Socialist Labour||Michael Rix||656||1.8||N/A|
|Socialist Alternative||Chris Hill||304||0.8||N/A|
- "By-election turnout 'lowest since WWII'". BBC News online. 10 June 1999. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
- "Benn limps in after dismal vote". BBC News online. 11 June 1999. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
- Ward, Lucy (11 June 1999). "Benn's son wins stay-at-home byelection". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2009.