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Birmingham Ladywood by election, 1969

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The Birmingham Ladywood by-election, in Birmingham, on 26 June 1969 was held after Labour Member of Parliament (MP) Victor Yates died on 19 January the same year. Although the seat had been Labour-held since 1945 it was captured by the Liberals in a defeat for Harold Wilson's government.

Campaign

In Doris Fisher, Dr. Louis Glass and Wallace Lawler the three major parties all picked candidates who were members of the local council. Lawler, however had a strong reputation for campaigning in the impoverished area, having previously used issues raised by the seminal drama ‘Cathy Come Home’ to highlight poverty in the area, organised a petition to protest against increases in electricity prices and arranged a protest demonstration of mainly Birmingham pensioners to travel to London to hand in letters and petitions at 10 Downing Street. As a consequence the popular local activist ensured the first Liberal Party MP for a Birmingham constituency in 80 years.

Colin Jordan ran as a candidate for the far right British Movement and, with Ray Hill as his election agent, their campaign, in which their literature attacked Jews and immigrants and proclaimed loyalty to Nazism, led to some violent scuffles with opponents. Although finishing a distant fourth the result was treated as something of a triumph and was cited frequently by those who advocated Nazi orthodoxy on the far right rather than moderation as the British Movement still managed to win 3% of the vote, despite openly wearing swastika insignia and featuring Adolf Hitler's image on their literature.

A candidate for the anti-nuclear energy Fellowship Party also contested the by-election.

References

Birmingham Ladywood by-election, 1969 Wikipedia


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