Labour Party leadership election, 1976
The 1976 Labour Party leadership election occurred when Harold Wilson resigned as Leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister. To date, it is the only occasion the Labour Party has had a leadership election with more than one candidate whilst in government.
In the first ballot, held on 25 March, six candidates vied for the leadership:
- Tony Benn, Secretary of State for Energy, Member of Parliament for Bristol South East
- James Callaghan, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Member of Parliament for Cardiff South East
- Anthony Crosland, Secretary of State for the Environment, Member of Parliament for Great Grimsby
- Michael Foot, Secretary of State for Employment, Member of Parliament for Ebbw Vale
- Denis Healey, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member of Parliament for Leeds East
- Roy Jenkins, Home Secretary, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Stechford
As a result of the first ballot, Crosland was eliminated, while Jenkins and Benn withdrew from the contest. The remaining three candidates would face each other in a second ballot, five days later.
Because no candidate achieved an absolute majority, the candidate with the lowest number of votes was eliminated (in this case Healey). A final run-off ballot was held six days later.
|Third ballot: 5 April 1976
|James Callaghan elected
Immediately upon his election as Labour leader, Callaghan succeeded Wilson as Prime Minister.
- Benn, Tony (1995), The Benn Diaries, Arrow