Workington by-election, 1976

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The Workington by-election, 1976 was a parliamentary by-election held in England for the House of Commons constituency of Workington in Cumbria on 4 November 1976. It was won by the Conservative Party candidate Richard Page, who became the first non-Labour MP in the constituency’s history.

Vacancy[edit]

The seat had become vacant when the Labour Member of Parliament (MP), Fred Peart had been elevated to the peerage in order to serve as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal. He had held the seat since the 1945 general election, and had served in previous Cabinets under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan.

Candidates[edit]

The Labour candidate was 33-year-old Dale Campbell-Savours, the Managing Director of a clock company who had fought Darwen in both the February and October elections of 1974.

The Conservative Party candidate was Richard Page, who was 35 and had contested the Workington seat against Peart in both 1974 General Elections.

Result[edit]

The result was a surprise victory for Page and the Conservatives, with a majority of 1,065 votes. Workington had been a safe Labour seat, held even in the landslide defeat of 1931.

Both the main contenders in this by-election would go on to long Parliamentary careers. Campbell-Savours defeated Page for the Workington seat at the 1979 election, and would represent it until standing down at the 2001 election, when he was elevated to the Lords.

After his defeat, Page soon returned to the House of Commons at a 1979 by-election for the constituency of South West Hertfordshire, which he would represent until the 2005 election.

Votes[edit]

Workington by-election, 1976
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Richard Page 19,396 48.2 +15.9
Labour Dale Campbell-Savours 18,331 45.6 -10.4
Liberal Bernard Wates 2,480 6.2 −5.6
Majority 1,065 2.6 N/A
Turnout 40,207
Conservative gain from Labour Swing +13.2
General Election October 1974: Workington
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Fred Peart 22,539 56.0 -3.7
Conservative Richard Page 12,988 32.3 -8.0
Liberal J. Burns 4,728 11.7 N/A
Majority 9,551 23.7 +4.4
Turnout 40,255 75.8 -0.6
Labour hold Swing +2.2

See also[edit]

References[edit]