Rochdale by-election, 1958

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The Rochdale by-election of 13 February 1958 was a by-election for the constituency of Rochdale, in Lancashire, England, in the House of Commons. It was called following the death on 16 December 1957 of the sitting Conservative Member of Parliament, Wentworth Schofield.[1]

This was the first British election to be televised, and Liberal candidate Ludovic Kennedy used his media experience to increase coverage of his campaign. Granada Television broadcast two debates between the candidates as well as the election count, and the BBC conducted many interviews with voters.[2]

The election was won by the Labour candidate, Jack McCann, with 22,000 votes, but Kennedy polled 17,603, the highest Liberal vote since the 1920s. The Conservative candidate, John Parkinson, was squeezed into third place with fewer than 10,000 votes.


By-Election 1958: Rochdale[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Jack McCann 22,133 44.7 −3.8
Liberal Ludovic Kennedy 17,603 35.5 N/A
Conservative John E. Parkinson 9,827 19.8 −31.7
Majority 4,530 9.1 +12.2
Turnout 49,563
Labour gain from Conservative Swing +14.0
General Election 1955: Rochdale
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Wentworth Schofield 26,518 51.5 +1.1
Labour Jack McCann 24,928 48.5 −1.1
Majority 1,590 3.1 +2.3
Turnout 51,446 82.8 −2.8
Conservative hold Swing +1.1

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