Walsall North by-election, 1976

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The Walsall North by-election on 4 November 1976 was held after the resignation of sitting Member of Parliament (MP) John Stonehouse. Elected as a Labour candidate, Stonehouse was a member of the English National Party when he resigned, after an interlude in which he faked his own death.[1] The English National Party did not contest the by-election, the first occasion on which the incumbent's party did not do so since the Bristol South East by-election, 1963, and the last until the North Down by-election, 1995.

Amidst the confusion, the Conservative Party gained the seat in the by-election.

The by-election was also noted for the performance of independent candidate Sidney Wright, the debut of the Ecology Party[2] and the split of the far right vote due to the appearance of both the National Front and their splinter group the National Party on the ballots.[3] The Liberal Party could take only fifth place, their worst ever placing in a by-election in England. The party had previously come fifth in Wales in the Merthyr Tydfil by-election, 1972, and next placed so low at the Glasgow Central by-election, 1989.

The by-election also saw a record number of candidates, beating the long-standing record of seven who contested the Stockport by-election, 1920, where two seats were available, a total first reached in a single-member by-election in the Dorset South by-election, 1962. This record was again beaten at the City of London and Westminster South by-election, 1977.

Results[edit]

Walsall North, 1976[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robin Hodgson 16,212 43.35 +17.2
Labour David Winnick 11,833 31.64 -27.85
Independent Sidney Wright 4,374 11.70 N/A
National Front Joseph Parker 2,724 7.28 N/A
Liberal Frances Oborski 1,212 3.24 -13.1
Socialist Workers James McCallum 574 1.53 N/A
National Party Marian Powell 258 0.69 N/A
Ecology Jonathan Tyler 181 0.48 N/A
Air, Road, Public Safety, White Resident Bill Boaks 30 0.08 N/A
Majority 4,379 11.71
Turnout 37,398
Conservative gain from English National Swing

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1976: Government crisis as Stonehouse quits
  2. ^ Green Party history, Derek Wall
  3. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, 1977
  4. ^ "1976 By Election Results". Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2015-09-17.