East Fife by-election, 1961
The East Fife by-election, 1961 was a by-election held for the British House of Commons constituency of East Fife in Scotland on 9 November 1961. It was won by the Unionist candidate Sir John Gilmour.
The seat had become vacant when the sitting National Liberal Member of Parliament (MP), Sir James Henderson-Stewart had died at the age of 63 on 3 September 1961. He had held the seat since a by-election in 1933. The result at the previous election was as follows;
|National Liberal||Sir James Henderson-Stewart||26,585||69.95||−0.65|
|National Liberal hold||Swing||−0.65|
The Unionist candidate was 49-year-old Sir John Gilmour, an Eton and Cambridge-educated baronet who was a local farmer and land-owner, and a decorated war-hero. His father, also called John, had been an MP for thirty years, serving as a minister in the 1920s and 1930s including a period as Home Secretary. Gilmour was a reluctant by-election candidate; he had stood unsuccessfully at the 1945 general election in Clackmannan and Eastern Stirlingshire, but preferred local politics and had been a member of Fife County Council since 1955. However, he was pressured to stand by the constituency association which feared the imposition of an unpopular Conservative candidate.
The Liberal Party candidate was 30-year-old Donald Leach. He contested Edinburgh West in 1959. He was the Head of Department of Mathematics at Napier College of Science and Technology. He was educated at John Ruskin Grammar School and Croydon Polytechnic.
Gilmour was elected with a reduced but still large majority, with nearly 50% of the votes.
|Unionist||Sir John E. Gilmour||15,948||47.4||−22.2|
|Liberal||Donald Frederick Leach||8,786||26.2||N/A|
Gilmour was re-elected at the 1964 general election, with an increased majority over Smith, and held the seat until he stepped down at the 1979 general election. Smith much later became leader of the Labour party.
- East Fife (UK Parliament constituency)
- East Fife by-election, 1933
- List of United Kingdom by-elections (1950–1979)