1979 Manchester Central by-election

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The Manchester Central by-election, 1979 was a parliamentary by-election held on 27 September 1979 for the British House of Commons constituency of Manchester Central.

The seat had become vacant when the constituency's Labour Member of Parliament (MP), Harold Lever had been made a life peer on 3 July 1979. He had held the seat since its creation for the February 1974 general election, having represented previous constituencies in Manchester since the 1945 general election.

Being held less than five months after the 1979 general election (where the Tories had won power from Labour after five years), it was the first by-election of the 1979–1983 parliament.


Manchester Central was a safe seat for Labour. On a heavily reduced turnout, the result of the contest was a victory for the Labour candidate, Bob Litherland, who won with the same 70.7% share of the vote which Lever had won at the general election in May 1979.[1]

Syed Ala-Ud-Din stood in protest at not being selected as the Labour candidate.[2]

Litherland held the seat until he retired from the House of Commons at the 1997 general election.


Manchester Central by-election, 1979[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Bob Litherland 7,494 70.7 0
Liberal Anthony Parkinson 1,502 14.2 +8.9
Conservative Stephen Lea 1,275 12.0 −10.1
Independent Labour Syed Ala-Ud-Din 187 1.8 N/A
Ecology John Foster 129 1.2 N/A
Democratic Monarchist, Public Safety, White Resident. Bill Boaks 12 0.1 N/A
Majority 5,992 56.5 +7.9
Turnout 10,599 33.8 −29.9
Labour hold Swing


  1. ^ Richard Kimber's political science resources: UK General Election results 1979
  2. ^ Anwar, Mohammed. Race and Politics: Ethnic Minorities and the British Political System. Routledge. pp. 57–58. ISBN 0415491118.
  3. ^ Boothroyd, David. "Results of Byelections in the 1979-83 Parliament". United Kingdom Election Results. Retrieved 2015-09-19.

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