Election 97

Late returns

The electoral process did not stop on 2 May. Keep up to date with the latest news and our UK election timetable.

Full results of the Uxbridge by-election (1 August):

John Randall (Conservative): 16,288
Andrew Slaughter (Labour): 12,522
Keith Kerr (Liberal Democrat): 1,792
Lord Sutch (Raving Loony): 396
Julia Leonard (Socialist Party): 259
Frances Taylor (British National Party): 205
Ian Anderson (National democrat): 157
John Macaulay (National Front): 110
Henry Middleton (Original Liberal Party): 69
James Feisenburger (UK Independence Party): 39
Ronnie Carroll (Emerald Rainbow Islands Dream Ticket Party): 30

Conservative majority: 3,766
Turnout: 31,867 (55%)


Uxbridge by-election date announced (9 July): The first by-election of this parliamentary term will take place in the London borough of Uxbridge. It was caused by the death of Tory MP Sir Michael Shersby a week after the general election, and will be seen widely as a test of Labour's 'honeymoon' appeal. The Conservatives, however, are none too happy with the meager 724 majority they are defending - no unseated cabinet ministers are seeking to use the opportunity to get back into the Commons. Instead, the Tory candidate is local businessman John Randall.

Candidates:
John Randall (Conservative)
Andrew Slaughter (Labour)
Keith Kerr (Liberal Democrat)

Police to investigate Winchester result (9 July): The already controversial result in the Hampshire constituency of Winchester - which the Liberal Democrats gained from the Tories with a majority of two (see below) - has been complicated further by allegations of vote-rigging, which Hampshire police are to investigate. It is alleged that one or two people may have voted twice, under different names - a sufficient number to overturn the majority. There is no suggestion that any of the main parties were involved in this, and the allegations are unrelated to the action that defeated Tory MP Gerry Malone is bringing in the High Court.

No electoral reform for Euro-elections (12 June): Home Secretary Robin Cook has said that elections to the European parliament, due to take place in June 1999, will take place under the current first-past-the-post system. It was widely expected that the Euro-elections would see the first introduction of proportional representation in the UK.

It's not over yet - Part 3 (18 May): The News of the World has alleged that Mohammed Sarwar, the winning Labour candidate for Glasgow Govan, and Britain's first Muslim MP, bribed one of his rival candidates. The newspaper claims that £5,000 was paid to Baddar Islam, the Independent Labour candidate, to ensure that he withdrew suggestions of vote rigging. The Labour Party is taking the allegations seriously enough to order an immediate investigation. Mr Sarwar captured Govan with a moderate majority of 2,914 over the SNP. Such allegations, if substantiated, could lead to Mr Sarwar losing his seat and a rerun of the Govan contest.
  • 19 May: Mr Sarwar has firmly denied the News of the World's allegations. He is to issue a writ, claiming defamation, against the newspaper and has said that he welcomes investigations of the Govan campaign, both by the police and the Labour Party.
It's not over yet - Part 2 (17 May): The Conservatives may challenge the Labour win in Kettering, where Tory Roger Freeman was defeated by 189 votes. The Tories claim that one polling station stayed open beyond the appointed closing time (10pm) and that at least 40 votes should be discounted as invalid as a result. If this Labour win is overturned, the Tories only need repeat the feat a further 89 times to destroy Labour's overall majority.

It's not over yet - Part 1 (16 May): Defeated Winchester Tory MP Gerry Malone, who lost by a meager two votes to the Lib Dems after two recounts, has, after taking legal advice, announced that he will dispute the ruling in the High Court. He is claiming that 125 (later changed to 55 - Ed) ballot papers were unfairly ruled out as spoiled by the returning officer, at least two of which were in his favour. If his legal challenge is successful, it will result in a new poll in Winchester.

Devolution polls are on (15 May): The government has announced that polls on devolution for Scotland and Wales will take place some time in September.

UPCOMING ELECTORAL EVENTS

Uxbridge By-election: The Tories will be defending an eroded majority of 724 following the death of MP Sir Michael Shersby. The election has now been scheduled for 31 July, earlier than some authorities expected.
Devolution referendums: Scottish and Welsh devolution referendums announced on 15 May to be held some time in September.
Greater London Authority: Referendum probably to be held next May - possibly other English regional authorities too.
Next UK local elections:May 1998.
European elections: June 1999.
Next general election: May 2002 at the latest.