Richmond (Yorks) by-election, 1989

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Richmond (Yorks) by-election
United Kingdom
← 1987 23 February 1989 1992 →
Candidate William Hague Mike Potter Barbara Pearce
Party Conservative Social Democratic Social and Liberal Democrats
Popular vote 19,543 16,909 11,589
Percentage 37.2% 32.2% 22.1%

MP before election

Leon Brittan

Subsequent MP

William Hague

A by-election was held in the Richmond (Yorks) constituency of the United Kingdom Parliament on 23 February 1989. It followed the resignation of the sitting Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Leon Brittan on 31 December 1988, to allow him to take up the position of Vice-President of the European Commission.

The Conservative Party retained the seat, with future party leader William Hague the winner. The result was affected in part to the decision by the remnants of the Social Democratic Party (the part that objected to the merger with the Liberal Party the previous year) to contest the election[citation needed] as well as the newly formed Social and Liberal Democrats (who subsequently renamed themselves the Liberal Democrats). The SDP candidate, local farmer Mike Potter, finished second (with 16,909 votes, 2,634 behind Hague), while the Social and Liberal Democrats' Barbara Pearce came third with 11,589.

The Labour Party achieved only fourth place in the election, at that time their worst position in any English by-election since World War II.[citation needed]


Richmond by-election, 1989
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Hague 19,543 37.2 -24.0
Social Democratic Mike Potter 16,909 32.2
Social and Liberal Democrats Barbara Pearce 11,589 22.1 -4.9
Labour Frank Robson 2,591 4.9 -6.9
Green Dr. Robert Upshall 1,473 2.8
Monster Raving Loony David "Lord" Sutch 167 0.3
Independent Anthony Millns1 113 0.2
Corrective Party Lindi St. Claire 106 0.2
Liberal Nicholas Watkins 70 0.1
Majority 2,634 5.0
Turnout 52,561 64.4
Conservative hold Swing

See also[edit]


1 Anthony Millns was an independent candidate who used his occupation "University Information Officer" on the ballot paper. His campaign was focused on keeping the brewery company Theakstons within British ownership.[1]