Berwick and East Lothian by-election, 1978

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Berwick and East Lothian by-election, 1978 was a by-election held for the British House of Commons constituency of Berwick and East Lothian in Scotland on 26 October 1978. It was one of two UK parliamentary by-elections held on that day, and was won by the Labour Party candidate John Home Robertson.


The seat had become vacant when the Labour Member of Parliament (MP), John Mackintosh had died at the age of 48 on 30 July 1978. He had held the seat since the October 1974 general election,[1] having previously been MP for the seat between 1964 and the February 1974 election.[2]


The Labour candidate was 29-year-old John Home Robertson, a farmer who had been a member of Berwickshire District Council since 1974. The Conservative Party candidate was Margaret Marshall. The Scottish National Party fielded Isobel Lindsay, this caused some tensions within the SNP as the national leadership chose her as the candidate, as they were entitled to do, but they did not choose the person the local SNP organisation had selected to fight the next general election. The Liberals selected Tam Glen.


The result was a victory for Home Robertson, with an increased majority of 3,112 votes. This was well against the general trend of by-elections in the 1974 Parliament, which had been against Labour. It also saw a decline in the SNP vote, continuing a trend at a few other elections earlier in the year.

Home Robertson held the seat until its abolition for the 1983 general election, when he was returned for the new East Lothian constituency. He went on to represent the Scottish Parliament constituency of East Lothian.


Berwick and East Lothian by-election, 1978[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour John Home Robertson 20,530 47.4 +4.1
Conservative Margaret Marshall 17,418 40.2 +2.6
SNP Isobel Lindsay 3,799 8.8 −4.4
Liberal Tam Glen 1,543 3.6 −2.3
Majority 3,112 7.2 +1.5
Turnout 43,290
Labour hold Swing +0.8
General Election October 1974: Berwick and East Lothian
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour John Mackintosh 20,682 43.3 +1.0
Conservative Michael Ancram 17,942 37.6 -5.8
SNP R. Macleod 6,323 13.2 -1.0
Liberal C.F. Lawson 2,811 5.9 N/A
Majority 2,740 5.7 N/A
Turnout 47,758 83.1 -2.3
Labour gain from Conservative Swing +3.4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ October 1974 general election results at Richard Kimber's political science resources
  2. ^ February 1974 general election results at Richard Kimber's political science resources
  3. ^ "1978 By Election Results". Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2015-09-17.