1980 Glasgow Central by-election

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The Glasgow Central by-election, 1980 was a by-election held on 26 June 1980 for the British House of Commons constituency of Glasgow Central, following the death of its sitting MP, Thomas McMillan.

On a turnout of 48%, the Labour Party held the seat.


This was the last parliamentary by-election in England, Scotland or Wales not contested by an official candidate of either the Liberal Party, the SDP, or their successor party the Liberal Democrats; until the Haltemprice and Howden by-election, 2008. The Social Democrat candidate had no connection to the SDP (which wasn't created until 1981) and achieved the lowest vote for any candidate in a Parliamentary election under universal suffrage, a record later surpassed by the five votes obtained by independent campaigner Bill Boaks in the Glasgow Hillhead by-election of March 1982 .

Because there was no official candidate, Liberal Party member Graham Watson offered himself as a candidate sponsored by the Scottish Young Liberals. He later became a Member of the European Parliament and leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group in the European Parliament.

As a seat considered safe for Labour, there was little surprise when its candidate Bob McTaggart was declared victor, with 60.8% of the votes cast. Both of his closest rivals were later elected to sit in British parliaments: Gil Paterson, representing the Scottish National Party, was elected as a delegate for Central Scotland in the first sitting of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, while Conservative Anna McCurley won the Renfrew West and Inverclyde seat in the General Election of 1983.


Glasgow Central by-election, 1980[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Bob McTaggart 4,902 60.8 -11.7
SNP Gil Paterson 2,122 26.3 +16.2
Conservative Anna McCurley 707 8.8 -7.6
National Front John MacKenzie 148 1.8 N/A
Scottish Young Liberal Graham Watson 134 1.7 N/A
Ecology David Mellor 45 0.6 N/A
Social Democrat (1979) Donald Kean 10 0.1 N/A
Majority 2,780 34.5 -21.5
Turnout 8,062
Labour hold Swing

1979 general election result[edit]

General Election 1979: Glasgow Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Thomas McMillan 8,542 72.5
Conservative F. Saleem 1,937 16.4
SNP S. Bird 1,308 11.1
Majority 6,605 56.0
Turnout 59.5
Labour hold Swing


  1. ^ Boothroyd, David. "Results of Byelections in the 1979-83 Parliament". United Kingdom Election Results. Retrieved 2015-09-19.

See also[edit]