1989 Richmond (Yorks) by-election

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.

Richmond (Yorks) by-election

 1987 23 February 1989 1992 

Richmond (Yorkshire)
  First party Second party Third party
Candidate William Hague Mike Potter Barbara Pearce
Party Conservative SDP SLD
Popular vote 19,543 16,909 11,589
Percentage 37.2% 32.2% 22.1%
Swing 24.0% New party 4.9%

MP before election

Leon Brittan

Subsequent MP

William Hague

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]

Hague retained the seat for the next 26 years, winning re-election at the 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010 general elections.


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

See also


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]