Chesterfield by-election, 1984

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The Chesterfield by-election, 1984 was held on 1 March 1984 for a seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom to represent Chesterfield in Derbyshire. This followed the resignation of the sitting Labour Member of Parliament (MP) Eric Varley.

The eventual winner, former Labour cabinet minister Tony Benn (who had been ousted from parliament at the general election nine months earlier) defeated sixteen other candidates, at the time the largest fielded in a British by-election — surpassing the previous high of twelve, at the Croydon North West by-election, 1981. This record would not be broken until the Newbury by-election, 1993.

At the time, there was no requirement for political parties fielding candidates to be registered, resulting in some fringe candidates using slogans or frivolous titles as their party name. Actor Bill Maynard took fourth place, standing as an "independent Labour" supporter who opposed Benn's candidacy. Other candidates included John Davey, who ran in opposition to increases in the charges for National Health Service dentistry, Helen Anscomb, a by-election veteran who called for freight to be transported by rail to improve road safety, Donald Butler, a furniture shop owner who adopted the slogan "a Chesterfield for Chesterfield", T. A Layton stood in the name of the Spare the Earth Ecology Party, which he had formed, and David Cahill campaigned for The Sun to be treated as a comic.[1]

Chesterfield was Benn's fourth by-election win. He had first entered Parliament at the Bristol South East by-election, 1950 and held that seat until he was disqualified from the Commons in 1960, when he inherited his father's peerage, as Viscount Stansgate. At the resulting Bristol South East by-election 1961, he won with an increased majority of votes, but because he was ineligible to take his seat, the Conservative candidate Malcolm St Clair was declared elected. When the law was changed to allow peerages to be renounced, St Clair resigned the seat and Benn won the Bristol South East by-election 1963.


Chesterfield by-election, 1984[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Tony Benn 24,633 46.5 -1.6
Liberal Max Payne 18,369 34.7 +15.1
Conservative Nick Bourne 8,028 15.2 -17.3
Independent Bill Maynard 1,355 2.6 N/A
Monster Raving Loony David Sutch 178 0.3 N/A
Four-wheel drive Hatchback Road Safety David Bentley 116 0.2 N/A
Independent John Davey 83 0.3 N/A
Independent Ecology Party Thomas Layton 46 0.1 N/A
Independent - Freight on rails not roads Helen Anscomb 34 0.1 N/A
Yoga and Meditation Jitendra Bardwaj 33 0.1 N/A
Independent - Buy your Chesterfield in Thame Party Donald Butler 24 0.1 N/A
The Welshman Paul Nicholls-Jones 22 0.0 N/A
Elvisly Yours Elvis Presley Party Sid Shaw 20 0.0 N/A
I am not a number Christopher Hill 17 0.0 N/A
Acne Party Giancarlo Piccaro 15 0.0 N/A
Re-classify The Sun newspaper a comic David Cahill 12 0.0 N/A
Peace John Connell 7 0.0 N/A
Majority 6,264 11.8 −3.8
Turnout 52,992 76.9 +4.3
Labour hold Swing

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ALDRIDGE-BROWNHILLS to LEEDS, WEST, 1983 to 1997 election results at
  2. ^ Boothroyd, David. "Results of Byelections in the 1983-87 Parliament". United Kingdom Election Results. Retrieved 2015-09-19.