Isle of Ely by-election, 1973
The by-election took place during the 1970s Liberal Party revival. This seat and Ripon were gained on the same day, the third and fourth Liberal gains during the Parliament. This was the first time since 1899 that the Liberal Party had made two by-election gains on the same day, when it won both seats in a two-member constituency at the Oldham by-election. The last time the party had gained two seats, in different constituencies on the same day, was on 2 June 1896, at the Frome and the Wick Burghs by-elections.
The seat had become vacant on the death of the constituency's Member of Parliament (MP), Major Sir Harry Legge-Bourke KBE (16 May 1914 – 21 May 1973). Legge-Bourke, a Conservative, had gained the seat from the Liberal Party in the 1945 general election.
Three candidates were nominated. The list below is set out in descending order of the number of votes received at the by-election.
Freud won the by-election, in a seat which his party had not contested in the 1970 general election. He retained the constituency until it was renamed in 1983, with most of the territory incorporated into the constituency of North East Cambridgeshire. Freud retained that seat until he was defeated in the United Kingdom general election, 1987.
The Labour Party was represented by B. A. Young.
|Conservative||J. B. Stevens||15,920||35.0||−24.9|
|Labour||B. A. Young||12,153||26.7||−13.4|
|Liberal gain from Conservative||Swing|
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1950-1973, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Research Services 1983)
- Chronology of British Parliamentary By-Elections 1833-1987, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Research Services 1987)
- Twentieth-Century British Political Facts 1900-2000, by David Butler and Gareth Butler (Eighth edition: Macmillan Press 2000)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume IV 1945-1979, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1981)