1992 Labour Party leadership election

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1992 Labour Party leadership election
← 1988 18 July 1992 (1992-07-18) 1994 →
  Bryan Gould in 1992.jpg
Candidate John Smith Bryan Gould
Overall result 91.0% 9.0%
Affiliated unions 96.3% 3.7%
Party members 98.0% 2.0%
Labour MPs 77.1% 22.9%

Leader before election

Neil Kinnock

Elected Leader

John Smith

The 1992 Labour Party leadership election followed the Labour Party's failure to win the 1992 general election and the subsequent resignation of party leader Neil Kinnock.

There were only two candidates in the election, with John Smith always the clear favourite to win.[1] The ballot took place on 18 July 1992 at the Labour Party conference. Affiliated organisations had 40% of the vote, while Constituency Labour Parties and the Parliamentary Labour Party had 30% each in the electoral college. Gordon Brown and Robin Cook were both seen as potential candidates, but did not stand.

John Smith was elected in a landslide victory with 91% of the vote. This was the last Labour Party leadership election which used the trade union block vote; the system was reformed under Smith’s leadership to a one member, one vote system which was in place for the 1994 leadership election held two years later when Smith died suddenly of a heart attack.



Candidate[2] Affiliated block votes
CLP block votes
PLP votes
Overall result
Votes % Votes % Votes % %
John Smith Green tickY 4,822 96.3 597 98.0 229 77.1 91.1
Bryan Gould 187 3.7 12 2.0 68 22.9 9.0

John Smith was elected leader of the Labour Party with a clear majority.

Shortly after Black Wednesday in September 1992, Labour's lead in the opinion polls began to rise. By the time of his sudden death, Smith was widely predicted and expected to become prime minister at the next general election.

In the event, he would only serve two years before his death, which precipitated another leadership election.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Plea for Bloodshed". The Economist. 18 April 1992. p. 64.
  2. ^ Labour Party
  3. ^ Under the rules at the time of the contest, block votes were cast by delegates and the Parliamentary Party at Labour Party Conference. Affiliated Unions held 40% of the votes, CLPs 30% and the PLP 30%.