Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 1976

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Labour Party (UK) leadership election
United Kingdom
1963 ←
25 March 1976 (1976-03-25)-5 April 1976 (1976-04-05) → 1980

  James Callaghan.JPG Michael Foot (1981).jpg Roy Jenkins 1977b.jpg
Candidate James Callaghan Michael Foot Roy Jenkins
First Round Votes 84 90 56
First Round Percentage 26.8% 28.7% 17.8%
Second Round Votes 141 133
Second Round Percentage 45.2% 42.6% -
Third Round Votes 176 137
Third Round Percentage 56.2% 43.8% -

  Tony Benn2.jpg Denis Healey.jpg
Candidate Tony Benn Denis Healey Anthony Crosland
First Round Votes 37 30 17
First Round Percentage 11.8% 9.6% 5.3%
Second Round Votes - 38
Second Round Percentage - 12.2% -
Third Round Percentage - - -

Leader before election

Harold Wilson

Elected Leader

James Callaghan

The Labour Party leadership election of 1976 occurred when former leader Harold Wilson resigned as Party Leader and Prime Minister.

Candidates[edit]

In the first ballot, held on 25 March, six candidates vied for the leadership:

Result[edit]

First Ballot: 25 March 1976
Candidate Votes %
Michael Foot 90 28.7%
Jim Callaghan 84 26.8%
Roy Jenkins 56 17.8%
Tony Benn 37 11.8%
Denis Healey 30 9.6%
Anthony Crosland 17 5.3%
Majority 6 1.9%
Turnout 314
Second Ballot required

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.

Second Ballot: 30 March 1976
Candidate Votes %
Jim Callaghan 141 45.2%
Michael Foot 133 42.6%
Denis Healey 38 12.2%
Majority 8 2.6%
Turnout 312
Third Ballot required

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
Candidate Votes %
Jim Callaghan 176 56.2%
Michael Foot 137 43.8%
Majority 39 12.4%
Turnout 313
Callaghan elected leader

Immediately upon his election as Labour leader, Callaghan succeeded Wilson as Prime Minister.

References[edit]

  • Tony Benn, The Benn Diaries (Arrow, 1995).