The by-election occurred soon after the February 1974 general election, and indeed proved to be the only by-election of the Parliament, the next general election being held in October. Given that there was a hung parliament, and at the time of the by-election a general election was thought likely, any changes in the share of the vote between the main parties could have given a guide as to the likely future government.
Labour chose Nigel Spearing as its candidate; previously the MP for Acton, he had lost his seat at the February election. The Liberals, Conservatives and National Front all fielded the same candidates who had stood in February, hoping to build on their performance. An "independent Labour" candidate also stood.
The election campaign was dominated by the impending election, and by the threat posed by the National Front.
Spearing achieved an easy victory, although his vote dropped slightly from the February election. The Liberal and Conservative votes both dropped slightly, while despite a strong anti-fascist campaign, the National Front picked up votes to finish third, ahead of the Conservatives. The Conservatives had not finished fourth in an English by-election since World War II and did not do so again until Bermondsey in 1983.
At the October general election, Spearing held the seat with an increased majority. The Conservatives and Liberals failed to gain ground, while the National Front began to fall back. Spearing held the seat until it was abolished in 1997.